Explore Issue 01 of LOOP Magazine

Featuring Sam Tompkins and Victor Ray as our cover stars, as well as internal spreads from Girli, Jords, Mysie, Finn Askew, Kara Marni and Master Peace

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Silk Sonic are unstoppable in their long awaited debut album An Evening With Silk Sonic

For anyone who claims they were born in the wrong decade, it looks as though your luck is in, as it seems as though we’re seeing an era redefined in the shape of the seventies. Flares, bouncy blow dries and The Bee Gees have become increasingly popular in the last year or so, but perhaps most excitingly is neo-soul favourites Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak’s seventies inspired collaboration Silk Sonic, and their debut An Evening With Silk Sonic.

After spending a significant amount of time in each other’s pockets during his 24K Magic tour, Bruno Mars and support act Anderson .Paak formed a musical alliance that was just waiting to happen. And thank god it did, March bought us the release of the gooey and alluring debut single “Leave The Door Open”. Complete with swooning strings, glistening keys and crescendo drum solo moments, Silk Sonic really did leave the door open for drooling new fans to mourn for more seventies grooves.

If it isn’t already obvious, the concept album is a direct nod back to seventies funk and soul, and follows the story of a relationship between Mars/. Paak and an unnamed woman. “Fly As Me”, captures .Paak’s solo moment through cheeky wit and self-assurance that no one can shake, as he questions and states “Have you ever been with a player? / Take you downtown where they treat me like the mayor”. With slap bass and climbing guitar riffs, the track walks and talks with swagger. And with an undeniable nod back to James Brown with frequent roaring of “Uh!”’s, it’s a tasty recipe for a re-established look back to traditional head jerking funk.

Follow up track “After Last Night” features special guest host Bootsy Collins and sultry bass guitarist Thundercat, just to really turn the temperature up. A track that leaves you blushing, it leaves little to the imagination to guess what the lyrics are suggesting, but that just helps to add to the pastiche of the seventies flush. A perfect contradiction is in the form of the next track “Smokin Out The Window”, where the unnamed flame Mars and .Paak have fallen for has royally screwed them over, as both artists respectively growl “This bitch got me payin’ her rent, payin’ for trips / Diamonds on her neck, diamonds on her wrists”. Erupting with character, the track preaches and rages against a divine bassline and whistling riff to create the catchiest chorus of the album.

Cinematic “Put On A Smile” turns down the tempo as the only soulful ballad on the album, going back to 90s R&B stereotypes as Bootsy Collins announces “Ain’t no shame begging in the rain / Tell her how you really feel”. A track reminiscent of early Mars material, .Paak’s rich and raspy vocals take the verses, whilst Mars hits the grand notes making their mark in the choruses. And it’s not just here we see glimmers of previous solo work, the animated “777”, is an amalgamation of .Paak’s “Come Down” and Mars’ “24K Magic” in terms of lyrical buzz and a dynamic, yet controlled, sound which encapsulates a funky guitar riff, appearances from a big band horn section and alarming rings of bells.

Penultimate track “Skate” is gorgeously sunny, complete with congas and a vibrant string section; it acts as the album’s paradise. And it wouldn’t be a concept album without a definite goodbye, in that sense “Blast Off” is the perfect way to close the album. A track that heads back to the late 60s with lyrics explicitly depicting a psychedelic trip, it’s a dreamy one that involves a monster guitar solo with dazed synths. The album that feels like you’re being transported to a different era or even dimension is then eventually closed by the recurring voice of Bootsy Collins, as he swoons “Sending love from up above / Happy trails, baba”.

Words by Izzy Sigston

Posted On 3 October, 2022