new music: neo soul legend omar returns on the instant-classic ‘love in beats’ #soundcheck

February 27, 2017

For 30 years now, Omar has lurked just below the surface as the king of underground soul. His releases have gained him acolytes from Stevie Wonder to Erykah Badu, with Omar’s impeccable voice ringing out eternal. His latest, Love In Beats adds a number of high profile guest features (most notably Robert Glasper and Floacist), but the heart is unmistakably Omar’s.

Electronic undercurrents flow through the album’s veins, courtesy of Omar Lyefook’s brother Scratch Professer. Love In Beats balances the past and future, with nods to both Motown (the legendary Leon Ware’s contributions to “Gave My Heart/It’s So Interlood”), and Stax (the very Isaac Hayesian flutes in “Vicky’s Tune”). Latin and Caribean sounds abound from the flamenco guitar on “De Ja Vu” to the rhythms on “Destiny.” But despite the variety of guest contributions, the best moments tend to be when Omar is left to his own devices. The indelible “Doobie Doobie Doo” and “I Want It To Be” both stand on their own as some of the best songs of Omar’s career. Long live the king.
By Nathan Leigh, AFROPUNK contributor