Kali Uchis - Isolation
The thought that Isolation is the debut album from Colombian-American singer Kali Uchis is somewhat incredible since it seems likpe she has been ever-present for years now. Working mostly as a hired gun in soul songs this album shows that her range and variety is far greater than anyone really could have imagined. She doesn't fuck with labels on this record, though R&B might be the one thing we can hang our hat on, as she worms her way through incredible song after incredible song that feels totally modern, but also based in so much of music history. The intro "Body Language" gives you flashes of jazz while setting the stage for something modern to slip through. The second track featuring Bilal, "Miami", actually moves things into the future, showing this is far more than a record fully consumed with the past. She's able to make vibes of motown and soul feel completely modern, while still pushing the envelope on some of the more experimental tracks. "Dead to Me" removes the vinyl fuzz from her vocal for the first time in place for some bouncy synths. The psychedelic bend is very in line with the direction of the best R&B today. It brings to mind Childish Gambino and Frank Ocean, really honest music that feels raw even though it is produced almost perfectly. From the first moment Isolation fills your ears with this warm sound, wrapping you up and allowing you to slide into it. There's no pressure with this album, it just kind of unfolds in front of you unconcerned with the world around it.
"Tomorrow" is taken straight out of the Tame Impala playbook. The song has this swirling quality that is so intimately tied at this point to Tame Impala, but it doesn't feel totally derivative like it could have. Uchis also uses her Latin heritage with such a light touch that it never feels like she is beating you over the head with it. Often a lot of Latin artists will make a point to throw it in your face rather than allowing it to blend into their entire vibe. Uchis toes this line expertly. This album though really makes me feign for The Internet. Uchis is fantastic, but Syd brings this whole other element to her performance and this album really sounds like The Internet could have made it. I hope that's not taken as a diss, because it's really high praise seeing as how supremely amazing The Internet are. Isolation might be a turn inward for Uchis in terms of her songwriting, but this record has the ability to include damn near everyone. "Feel Like a Fool" is a shining beacon bolstered by these big bad ass horns slipping their way into the background. Uchis is positioning herself as the next Amy Winehouse, and after hearing this record she may be right. Take a listen and see for yourself.
8.8 out of 10