Will Schube will jump on the wall and tick tock

There’s a fine line between music with a constant eye on the rearview mirror and the sort of stuff that has no interest in leaving that reflected past. A lot of artists informed by the sultry sounds of 60s/70s R&B or soul music have no interest in moving in any direction except laterally; this often results in sugar-coated nonsense—why listen to watered down versions of what was once so good?

Leon Bridges, hailing from Crowley, Texas, is able to escape this cycle of uninformed nostalgia through an inherent grasp on 70s “soul” music, without ever relying on the genre’s successes as the reason for his creations. This sort of criteria is rather intangible and hard to pinpoint within the context of a specific song, but Leon’s music (only two songs have surfaced thus far: “Coming Home” and “Better Man”) carries with it an aesthetic totally modern. “Coming Home” is sugary sweet doo-wop, the swing in six led by a wonderfully heavy ride cymbal. Bridges’ voice is surrounded by instruments that pop in and out of the mix—a subtle piano riff here, backing vocals there, guitar stabs every which way—accompanying Bridges’ veteran sounding voice with subtle support. The track doesn’t really need to do much outside of this structure—the tune is sugary enough to carry the unchanging verse-chorus structure. “Better Man” clocks in at just under two-and-a-half minutes, managing to cram in pulsing horns, a swaggering vocal line, and an organ that subtly swells beneath the surface.



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