jonah kue - harvest redux
Jonah Kue impressed me last year with his release Road To Market. His silky R&B style mixed with electronica and melancholy was a genre explored by few other contemporaries (the most direct comparison is How To Dress Well although you could also reference The Junior Boys). Kue has managed to create a strong follow-up called Harvest Redux, which contains 19 songs that continue to explore within the outer limits of R&B.
Kue’s voice is about as smooth as they come and is the focal center that can sometimes cause you to overlook the production which is crisp, usually inventive and occasionally cinematic. There is a lot to digest here but it’s well worth the effort. Kue doesn't deviate much from his style but the songwriting and production is good enough to keep you engaged.
The album starts with a multi-layered accapella-style song that implements slight auto-tune as well as delay called “Harvest of Ages.” It’s a very effective introduction as it seamlessly segues into “Dreamers and Architects.” Kue quickly creates a canvas of smooth lava-like warmth with pads, bells and even a vocal sample. The song quickly establishes that Kue is in the zone as the vocal melody is on point and is something you can imagine dancing to at the hippest lounge in the city. On “Sleepless” Kue creates a subtle upbeat energy as if you just chased down the Xanax you took with a Red Bull. He also implements creative orchestration that brings a lot of diversity to the song. “The Enemy” lays down a heavy beat but is carried by a very good vocal performance while “Belong” shows Kue experimenting a bit more with atmosphere and layering.
It’s hard to choose and really unnecessary to pick a highlight amongst the batch but “S.a.S.” and “Vicious” are two you are not going to want to miss. Harvest Redux is the type of album you can just hit play and not worry about it. Kue has put in the effort and it shows, as the album while on the lengthier side really doesn't have major lulls. His production is varied and very slick throughout but really wouldn't matter if he didn't have the songwriting chops. Good songwriting, good production, good album.
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