- 15 Nov 21
Cool, And The Gang.
Those of us who regularly strut down the street to our own soundtrack, with collars visible over jacket lapels and an optional tin of paint in the right hand, welcomed the first Silk Sonic single like manna from a very funky corner of heaven back in March. 'Leave The Door Open', which, if it somehow managed to assume human form, would doubtless sport a tasteful silk shirt and medallion combo, is so smooth you could play a frame of snooker on it.
This was only the first piece of gold by the R&B super duo of soul polymath Bruno Mars – I took my daughter to see him in Marlay Park and the scales fell from my eyes – and rapper/singer/drummer/all-rounder Anderson .Paak, whose Malibu (2016) and Ventura (2019) albums will not disappoint. They first got together when .Paak supported Mars on his 24K Magic World Tour as a joke but this record is as serious as an envelope from the revenue office.
The second single ‘Skate’ – a song about rollerskating, in 2021? You’re damn right - could have been a Gamble and Huff production included on a Car Wash sequel soundtrack, while single #3 ‘Smokin’ Out The Window’, which recounts the woes of paying the cost of co-habitation, has its tongue so firmly in its cheek, it's poking clean through. It's also as groovy as a country lane.
The good news is that the parent album is every bit as crucial. Ever thrown a few shapes to Earth, Wind And Fire, cut some rug to Marvin Gaye or the Stylistics, or cuddled someone close while the likes of Al Green or Isaac Hayes issued instructions from a speaker in the corner? If you haven’t then I can do nothing for you, but if you have, you’re on safe, solid - and sexy - ground here.
‘Fly As Me’ is, frankly, funkier than a scarecrow’s jocks, with a groove so lethal, James Brown himself might have thought twice before laying it down. In case that resulted in any pulled muscles, they call in Thundercat & Bootsy Collins to help with some horizontal relaxez-vous action for ‘After Last Night’ which should probably only be listened to whilst wearing a full-body condom unless you wish to end up in the family way before it’s even half over. It’s that sexy.
Listen to Mars utilise a falsetto straight from God on the heartbroken ‘Put On A Smile’ before they say fuck it and head back to the floor with the hyperatomicpneumatadelic ‘777’, a song that could easily be the result of a particularly wild night of passion involving Maurice White, Prince, and a swimming pool full of whipped cream.
It only takes just over a half an hour – scientifically proven as the perfect length for any album – to get from 'Intro', the arse-moving statement of intent, featuring quite possibly the funkiest cat who ever lived, the “blaster of the universe” Bootsy Collins, to the our-love-is-so-all-powerful-it’ll-kick-gravity’s-arse getting it on in the sky of ‘Blast Off’ with its Eddie Hazel/Ernie Isley guitar break. That’s thirty-one minutes that will make your year immeasurably better. Sexy, groovy, funny, funky, and the Soul/R&B album of the year. No contest.