Get LIQ’d, y’all. It’s 2020 …
At the start of 2019 — yeah, feels like a decade ago given the constant azz-whoopin’ 2020’s been handing to us — multi-instrumentalist Saoul gave us his made-for-the-party Seldom Oddity album that instantly made me think of how he can relate to writer James Baldwin’s admonition to “taste the bread” and find moments of unbound pleasure during our times of struggle against oppression, death and uncertainty.
And while I strongly suggest putting Seldom Oddity in your ear, the good news is that Saoul is back with SuCcumb, a new Funkalicious release that can be a sequel to his previous gospel of loading your pleasure nodes before viruses and militias overwhelm your thoughts.
The Future-Soul-flavored opener, “Oh Shit [Intro]”, feels like a manifesto for the album — if not for this pandemic and Black Lives Matter summer, topped with global warming infernos. Saoul and guest wordcrafter George Andre acknowledge the times we’re in and follow up with a prescriptive outlet: “WLIQ — LIQ radio”.
In other words, “SucCumb” to the “LIQ.” — and “be loved.”
So, you’re now set up to hear the rest of the album. And party.
The next thing you need to do — whether you’re still home hiding from COVID-19 or outside brooding about your prior months of isolation — is make room and dance to the celestially-funky “Fuschia Sky”, and then envision yourself escaping the devised Matrix. The uptempo energy is hella post-Purple Rain Prince with Saoul’s evocative croons and chord changes moving in perfect sync to tell the song’s story. Saoul seems to be rooting for you to indulge.
I still rave about the thumping “Maxine” — SuCcumb’s first release — and the helpful voices of LoRayne Marlene and Andre. The song oozes 4/4-styled sexiness.
You’ll find that Funk and Afrofuturism make up the aesthetic vibe that powers the album. I’m not talking about recycled Funk from the 1970s, but modern, unobjectionably lubricious Funk for 2020 and beyond. And yet, if some disintegrated Funk band wants to reunite and find a new source of mojo, They can ironically look to Saoul’s “Flick” for inspiration. Yes, you will move that body. And the chantable hook will create a highly responsive dancefloor. Sometimes, the student can teach the master.
“When You’re Around” is head-nodding delicious — black keys in your ear and all — while “Flor Da Alma” delivers a refreshing blend of booty-shaking Tropicália.
Relative to the rest of the album, the title track is laid back but danceable. Always the multi-instrumentalist, Saoul punches up the groove with featured solos.
Followers of this blog know by now that I only give the highest marks to albums which I think will reward your ears now and tomorrow, but I’ve also added a temporary designation for these kinds of releases: essential for your pandemic playlist. Music for blowing off steam, and 2020 along with it. Music for never-guilty pleasures. And I think Saoul hits all my marks with SuCcumb.
If you’re ready to get LIQ’d, head to Saoul’s Bandcamp page.