Steve Lacy


Apollo XXI

Since joining the Internet at 16, Steve

Lacy has establishe­d himself as a quiet force. Unfailingl­y humble, the coy Compton native has been priming his audience with glimpses of his genius, from the impressive Steve Lacy’s Demo EP to the casual way in which he’s racked up illustriou­s production credits (Kendrick Lamar, Solange, Ravyn Lenae). He’s a gracious co-star, happy to share the spotlight with other talents.

But on the transcende­nt Apollo XXI, Lacy blossoms, assuming the mantle of full-fledged rock star. An intoxicati­ng mix of celestial soul, sprightly funk and glossy, luxurious rock’n’roll, Apollo XXI is a self-assured and sonically robust exploratio­n of love, lust and identity politics. Lacy scatters pearls of postadoles­cent wisdom in the lyrics, and drives the album forward with infectious melodies and an angelic falsetto. But Apollo’s chewy production is where Lacy makes his mark. However sincere his humble persona, Lacy’s cocksure guitar playing betrays any modesty.

Through his instrument, Lacy has developed a commanding voice. His magnetic je ne sais quoi has been peeking through in all of his past collaborat­ions, but on Apollo it stands much taller. “N Side” and “Lay Me Down” follow in the grooving, cosmic tradition of the Internet, while “Playground” and “Guide” harness the spry sensuality that Lacy injected into his work with Lenae. With this album, Steve Lacy exposes himself as the X factor on all of the other songs he’s touched. Keep an eye on those quiet ones. (3QTR)

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