SOUND CHECK: PLASMA, ADAKU
I cannot tell you exactly how I stumbled on Adaku’s single Or You Can, but I can tell you I liked it enough to dig through Spotify to find her album. And as I listened, all I could think of was why she wasn’t taking over radio waves all over the country. If I were to introduce Adaku’s sound, I would say she is the 90’s
R’n’B-influenced love child of Corrine Bailey Rae and Lianne La Havas.
Adaku follows the intro to her album ‘Plasma’ with Cut Off My Supply, a feel good song beautifully written to express the relationship between illusive feelings of euphoria that disappear to leave us feeling even worse than we were at equilibrium. She sings, “Cut of my supply, I don’t need no more highs to get me down.” With electric guitars and drums, this tune has a groovy feel and makes for a great opener for the album.
The third track, Ghosts, is much slower, with only a guitar accompanying for most of the way, before a brief spell of reggae drums towards the end. I would have said this song displays her vocal capacity, but the following tracks see her maintaining a range that only proves that for Adaku, there is no such thing as a weak vocal outing.
The fourth track, Bridges, is one of those songs that has to be played repeatedly to be appreciated. With soft vocals and layovers on the chorus, and beautifully arranged instrumentals, this song will leave you in a trance, humming along as you follow the sweet lyrics. It’s definitely one of my standout tracks.
Tracks five and six form part of one song split into two. While the first part had me feeling rather uneasy, and almost troubled, the second picks up the tempo with a more relaxing feel, almost like a deliberate attempt to take the listener out of the haze from the first half.
It was only on my third listen that I realized track seven, Burn Blue, borrows from the lyrics of the album’s intro. With emphasis on the lyrics, this very slow track breaks the album in two. After this tune, Picture Perfect comes on, reminiscent of the 90’s R’n’B sound, followed by my personal favorite One of Those Days. If Adaku had made a dollar for every time I played this song, she would be ready to retire by now. Boasting a rhythmic beat oozing with good vibes, the lyrics will literally have you feeling on top of the world, like a unisex Girls Put Your Record On by Corrine Bailey Rae.
The album’s single Or You Can, follows with the catchiness expected of any good radio record, but without the cliché efforts of mainstream artists trying too hard to win over listeners with repetitive hooks or other such tactics. Needless to say, this is also a standout track. In fact, it rivals One of Those Days in many ways for the spot of my personal favourite.
Silent Treatment at track eleven is another standout track, with smooth rhythms, perfect for Sunday morning drives. The drums are surprisingly similar to what you might hear on a hip-hop record, but they don’t take over the track allowing it maintain a calm essence as the album whines down towards the end.
The last three tracks follow a slow pattern as ‘Plasma’ comes to its close. All things considered, vocals, lyricism, instrumentals, originality, and mixing, ‘Plasma’ is a debut record worth every bit of our attention. And as far as contemporary soul/R’n’B records go, it is certainly in a class of its own.
Images: http://www.touchedc.com, fastmp3.org.
December 31, 2018
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