Album Review: Syd Impresses As A Solo Act on Fin

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Only a week after her bandmate Matt Martians dropped his solo debut The Drum Chord Theory, Syd has come forth with her own solo debut, Fin. The former Odd Future member has been all over some of last year’s biggest releases, featuring on Common’s Black America Again, Kaytranada’s 99.9%, and Little Simz’s Stillness in Wonderland. The time has come for her to release new music of her own, and needless to say it was worth the wait. Fin is a smooth, sensual ride that may not take many risks, but lives up to the hype of what listeners have come to expect from Syd.

The album takes off with what might be one of the best tracks, “Shake Em Off”. Syd addresses feeling frustrated and doubted by her haters, choosing to shake them off rather than give into the criticism. Syd rides over bubbly production accompanied by hard hitting percussion. The standout factor, however, is her voice. Syd consistently sounds angelic over the course of the 12-track album, utilizing falsetto tones and slightly lower vocals to showcase her incredible range. Her ability to carry a song on her own is apparent, yet some tracks include background vocals, like “Insecurities”. On these tracks, Syd remains the primary voice, and the background vocals only tend to come in for the chorus. They weren’t necessary for any song, but the addition adds a certain lushness to them that is more than welcome.

The album’s tone is surprisingly sexy. Multiple songs detail Syd romanticizing about women (“Drown In It”, “Body”, “Know”) or describing a trip to the strip club (“Dollar Bills”). Other songs go in opposite directions, favoring heavy beats as the driving force (“All About Me”, “No Complaints”, “Got Her Own”). This album, like Matt Martian’s, lacks a concept; some songs share themes but none of them can be connected as a whole. None of the songs take many risks sonically either; most can be traced back to other artists and a few could be mistaken for b-sides from The Internet. Syd’s otherworldly vocals make every song feel refreshing and new, despite her borrowing elements from present day hip-hop and her band.

Fin is a prime example of why more artists in group acts should be pursuing solo careers. While she does not try to convey a complex message or theme, Syd creates a collection of songs that are just flat out fun. One can’t help but sway to every song. Her melodic voice lifts each track to another level of sensuality and bliss, leaving the listener foaming at the mouth for more. Syd did herself and her fans a favor by leaving Fin nearly empty of features (Steve Lacy on “Dollar Bills” and 6LACK on “Over”). It’s time for Syd to be in the spotlight, as she has proved on this album. Listen to Fin here and catch Syd opening for her band, The Internet, on March 17 at The Neptune.

-Archie O’Dell

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Atlanta Artist 6lack Soars on his Debut Album: Free 6lack

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Born Ricardo Valentine, the southern singer has been creating for years but just recently began receiving attention with his breakout singles ‘PRBLMS’ and ‘Free’ released in early 2016. 6lack (Pronounced Black) aims to create a withstanding name for himself with murky beats, grimy vocals, and intimate lyrics. These characteristics are heard throughout ‘Free 6lack’ as Valentine contrasts past relationships and personal challenges with his desire for mental freedom.

After years or being locked in a faulty contract, 6lack felt he could finally express creative freedom with his latest release. The self-described monochromatic vocals backed by swampy soundscapes and stripped-down instrumentals reflect the conflicting emotions experienced by the young artist. In an interview with Fader magazine 6lack says, “ You look at it right now, you see monochrome, you see moody, you see for the most part somebody who is still in the process of figuring shit out,” in regard to his musical style.

‘Free 6lack’ opens with a stripped-down, nefarious track titled ‘Never Know’ which sets the overcast mood of the album and gives Valentine room to celebrate his hard-fought success. Other standout songs include intimate ballads like ‘Luving U’ and  ‘Gettin Old’ plus an addictive remix of Future’s Perkys Calling.’ 6lack aims to connect with fans through relatable stories of overcoming personal challenges and difficult relationships. His powerful messages of pushing for freedom pair seamlessly with his haunting beat selection creating a delightfully dangerous album. If you enjoy the murky, monochromatic R&B sound emerging out of cities like Atlanta and Toronto then I highly recommend indulging in this album and watching 6lack’s video for his hit single, ‘PRBLMS,’ below.

‘PRBLMS’ Video

Free 6lack

Find 6lack on: Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud

For fans of: Drake, PartyNextDoor, The Weeknd

Robert B

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