Friday, Jan. 17, 2014

Stream Modern Soul Singer Lex Allen's Smooth Debut, "Anonymous Vibes"

By Evan Rytlewski
lex allen milwaukee soul anonymous vibes
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You may have noticed there aren’t many prominent contemporary soul artists in Milwaukee. There’s a good reason for that: This music is hard to pull off. Nailing a modern R&B record requires a tricky combination of vocal presence, songwriting finesse and savvy production. Landing all three is tricky—and often expensive, since this style of music that doesn’t forgive production short cuts. It’s the very difficulty of this sound that makes it so satisfying when it works, though, and with his new album Anonymous Vibes, Milwaukee singer Lex Allen can claim to be one of the few local acts who’s doing it well.

Allen doesn’t hide his influences: He sings in a velvety John Legend croon, and his lush, live-band arrangements evoke D’Angelo’s soft grooves and Justin Timberlake’s ornate future soul—though, unlike Timberlake’s last couple of albums, these songs don’t draw on forever (he keeps all of them under three or four minutes). At just seven songs, Anonymous Vibes is a short album, but it packs a lot of range, especially in its bluesy final stretch, which lends a little grit to an otherwise smooth, luxuriant listen.

Stream Anonymous Vibes below, via Bandcamp.

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