Still Feat Antonia Marquee make an art R&B album with the luxurious, silky smooth sway of “Foreign Love”. Production radiates a grandeur from the lush keys to the beats that hit in just the right way. A true instant classic, they draw as much from R&B’s long storied past while pointing to its glorious future. This duality appears throughout the album, while they incorporate elements of smooth jazz, gentle nods to tasteful electronica, and pop. Everything sparkles for their attention to detail is a pure joy to behold. Vocals further add to those sonic ambrosia with a poetic beauty that wafts right up into the air. Lyrics further add to this sense of mystery, with lovely lilting lyricism that touches the very heart and soul of the matter.
They reference such a wide slew of artists while sculpting an aural universe that is uniquely their own. Neatly drawing from some of Klein’s experimentation with the R&B format, they make sure to keep things nimble. Grooves have a gargantuan physicality to them. For the more experimental elements they offer nods to Janelle Monáe’s careful storytelling alongside the funky flourishes that reside at the edges of the sound. Volume is an absolute must for this is a sound that needs to be felt as much as heard. Incredibly deep the whole of the sound simply permeates itself deep into the mind, for their understanding of hooks proves to be masterful.
Such a journey to the sound requires a little bit of navigation, in their case quite literally. “130” starts the album off with a field recording of waves lapping against the shore. Light and breezy there is a distinct Southern California vibe to it, with a simple yet effective beat that references Brainfeeder’s stripped down aesthetic. Glitched-out effects come to the forefront on the poignant “Hit Like Lemonade”. Orchestral effects and lumbering beats make the whole thing shake. When that bass drops it is a force of nature, rumbling with such a yearning passion punctuating her vocals with such care.
For old-school references “Love Like Nothing Else” features incredibly funky keys right at the forefront. The whole of the piece touches upon the casual school of Outkast at the peak of their powers. Handclaps, playful piano, the whole thing serves as the highlight of the album. Layer upon layer comes into the mix giving it a psychedelic flavor. Going for a tactile quality are the loose beats of the title track “Foreign Love”. Within this singular piece they waste no time in getting started. Within this piece they celebrate a sense of community.
Glowing melodies give “MARS” a neon-hued splendor. Here they slow things down to match the lyricism, as it has a reflective quality to it all. The spacious “Falling” has a woozy quality to it. Within the piece they let the drums take center stage. Small details matter a great deal, for the way that they bring more and more into the mix gives the work a triumphant air. A desire to overcome powers the piece forward.
Angelic with its hypnotic quality “Lighthouse” works wonders in its cyclical charms. The river-run spirit to it feels particularly apt. Bringing things to a sweetened finale is the joyful “Wishing On You”. Everything about it stuns, from the carefree melody to the passionately delivered lyricism. Yearning and desire rest front and center for the whole piece works itself into a giddy frenzy. Feeling akin to a happy ending after so much tumult, it possesses such bright and airy vibes.
A truly exquisite album that shows that pop can be art when put in the right hands, “Foreign Love” shows off the undeniable talent of D. Still Feat Antonia Marquee.