Before knowing the signification of this album’s title, I already thought that the name was well chosen. I unexpectedly stumbled upon elusive music producer Parley D’amour via iTunes a month ago and the previews of the songs had me buying his debut album The Unexpected before I even knew it.
The Unexpected is a refreshing musical ensemble, which is interestingly composed of a rather eclectic selection of genres such as Jazz, Soul and R&B. The harmony of this album builds up through the different artists it gathered to feature on it – the Spoken Word artists and singers brought together made this album a well-structured musical piece that I find extremely difficult not to listen to, as a whole from start to finish. I also found it interesting how artists are featured on several songs yet still manage to recreate a different vibe for each track.
Parley D’amour and his collaborators invite you to a journey with melancholic tastes but progressive destinations. The use of nature sounds such as the one of the sea or the one of pouring rain isn’t only what makes this album incredibly relaxing. Whether it be duets, falsettos, echoing voices or poetry, The Unexpected brings you a new experience on each listen, of frequent themes such as romance, spirituality and nature. As a whole, the tranquil ambiance matches with the mood of late night’s reflection or early awakenings. Summer is here, but there is always a point where we need a break from loud party music and as my first feature for WPGM, I couldn’t think of a better album to recommend.
Can you resist a falsetto voice singing to you on top of an acoustic guitar that you are forever? Because I personally cannot and that is exactly what we are faced with on “Love Driven” which features Blake Davis. This acoustic ballad is one rare piece on this album which is dominated by Jazz and R&B. It creates a soft break, a sweet escape through the listening of The Unexpected. An acoustic love declaration which redefines the barriers of an R&B love song. It will have you fall in love and leave you heart broken by its abrupt cut. Pleasures are better short-lived…
The sound of soft rain allying with deft drums and guitar arrangements that pull you all the way in – this track titled “Rainfall” has all it takes to welcome you home after a long day of work or cradle you to sleep and the guest feature on this record, Dorian Mitchell manages to take you in her most inquisitive and doubting moments for which she doesn’t even need to put words to describe as the “humming” break in the song illustrates the retrospective on her feelings.
The last track on The Unexpected album, “Blue & Green” is the reason that drove me to this album and Spoken Word artist Joe Kenneth is the reason that drove me into this track. Since I’ve last heard him on Jesse Boykins III x Melo X’s Zulu Guru album on the track “Schwaza”, I was quite impatient to see him featured on another album. On this tune, the tone of his calm voice, marries the coming and going of the waves, punctuated by the play of piano notes. The drum breaks halfway through the song doesn’t merely break the soothing aspect of the song, it rather comes as a support of the poet’s echoing metaphors. Although this tracks closes the album, I personally feel as though it is an opening and that there will be more to hear from this talented bunch. One can only hope!
“Blue & Green”:
This debut project from Parley D’amour is uniquely different from anything that is out there right now and the closest comparison I can think of, to give you an idea of its richness, is Robert Glasper’s Afro Blue. It’s the kind of album where the production will have you enjoying glorious pieces of saxophone, piano, drums and even acoustic guitar arrangements all through the 14-track affair. Such pure R&B, Soul and Jazz is quite rare nowadays for young artists to master with such verve and for a first album, Parley D’amour has shown an instrumental cognizance which can only be enjoyed by our discerning ears.
Press play and Enjoy!
Purchase: Parley D’amour – The Unexpected (iTunes)