If you read my initial reaction to the McMorrow’s third LP, We Move, in my Weekly Roundup from earlier this week, then know my positive sentiments have been cemented. I knew that I liked it, though there was a period of getting used to his much more direct R&B sound, a noticable difference from his previous output, the innovative Post Tropical ("Red Dust" into "Gold" is he joking?? THE BEST). It was this odd folk/ R&B fusion (sexy folk??) that felt new and interesting. That record also showed that he had evolved from being someone mentioned in the same breath as Bon Iver, to someone who was regarded as a unique presence. And while that uniqueness is still very much intact on We Move, it’s in a different way.
I love R&B, I love the feel, the mood; it has the power to command your attention like few other genres can. However, the pop version of R&B is often so shameless in it’s intentions, so overly sexual, that it loses it’s sensuality almost entirely. That is what makes albums like We Move all the more special; untraditional in its approach, yet still attacking the same emotions and feelings. That’s not to say that more conventional R&B albums can’t have a similar effect, as I really enjoyed Miguel’s 2015 release Wildheart, which is traditional in theory, but avant-garde in its build, enlisting psychedelic, rock, jazz, etc. influences into the fold.
What McMorrow does on We Move is different, and it’s easy to see. The obvious growth in his sound is great, and it doesn’t feel like an artist exploring or experimenting with something new. Instead it's an artist who's found his home and is now focused on continually perfecting his craft as it evolves naturally. He comes from a different musical background, so rather than starting with R&B and thinking how he could tweak it, he's taking his own style and creating an R&B sound within that. His offbeat approach offers something refreshing, and I hope more artists who take on new genres follow in his footsteps.
While I don’t enjoy We Move as much as it’s predecessor, that doesn’t take away from how good this record is. The flow throughout is spectacular, due to the impressive absence of repetition. Whether it’s the expansive slow jam “Last Story,” the beautiful (and powerful!) “Surreal” or “Get Low,” the acoustic groove that ascends into a synth driven jam, each song offers something new while never making you experience an abrupt change. There’s plenty to love here, and with no low points, it makes the listen just as smooth as the tracks that make up the record.