Lenny Hamilton Jr – Wayout: Portfolio Vol.1 – Review

6 09 2010

Lenny Hamilton Jr’s debut album is a sophisticated piece of headphone soul that’s been on constant rotation chez Cuts the past month. It’s a warm yet challenging work that pays handsome dividends on repeated listens, providing a deep, intimate and original listening experience up there with the best soul albums of 2010.

Wayout is an immaculately produced collection that segues effortlessly, subtly shifting tones on a engrossing journey through electro-soul, jazz, R&B, hip-hop and deep house, the tempos and styles changing in an almost impercetible fashion. It’s a substantive album, both lyrically and musically, reminiscent of Sade’s finest moments and recent work by Foreign Exchange and Vikter Duplaix. It certainly deserves to be purchased and spinned by folks deeply into those artists.

The jump cut, the ONE provides a perfect introduction into Lenny’s world. It’s a languid piece of jazzy soul underpinned by a beautiful, layered arrangement. Like much of the album, this tune draws the listener in little-by-little, transforming what initially sounds simplistic into an almost symphonic electro-soul arrangement.

There’s a haunting vibe that pervades the whole album, fuelled by exceptional synth work and subtly layered instrumentation. It’s an insistent sound that nags at the soul, lightly bedding itself in to your subconscious. But the album still contains ample surprises and variety to keep the listener alert, taking in the jazz waltz of Nothing 2 See, the deep house of Run, I’ll Wait’s Brown Sugar vibe, the orchestral Stevie magic of Cameo Life and the elegant simplicity of the emotional Believe In Me.

Take a listen to the whole album below, then get yourself over to Lenny’s Bandcamp page where you can download one of 2010’s finest soul albums for free, or pay for the XL version. Tell ’em SoulCuts sent ya! I first came to the album via the free download but subsequently went back and paid for the XL version. When the music’s this good, you have to support the artists. If you love it, show it!

For more information on Lenny, check out his website at http://www.ltrain.com/. In addition, SoulTracks and Soulchoonz both have excellent reviews of Wayout for your reading pleasure!




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