You stand within a dim chamber, adorned with minuscule hatches along the walls. A single bar stool rises from an opening in the center of the room. The hatches surrounding you open simultaneously, followed by a faint metallic sound that rings in your ears. Suddenly, countless microscopic organisms fly from the tiny openings, convening upon the stool. They fly back to their homes, leaving a solitary naked woman in their place. She raises her head, and sings . . .
The story is as old as time: artist stands out from her group as the supremely talented component; artist departs from said group to pursue a solo career; artist finds equally talented personnel with which to collaborate; artist shifts gears and crafts her most impressive creation thus far. The collaborative personnel in this case? Kingdom. The group? Danity Kane. Infrared is the newest release from singer Dawn Richard.
Across four stunning tracks, producer Kingdom shows off his unparalleled ability to construct spaciously captivating instrumentals, while Richard fills those spaces with one of the most soulful, awe-inspiring voices in r&b. The striking cover art is emblematic of the record’s overall “nakedness”, with Kingdom reveling in sparse, genre-fluid arrangements and Richard soaring above them with powerfully raw vocal melodies.
Ever since she escaped the pop confines of Danity Kane, Richard has had a string of spectacular releases with various collaborators, but none achieve quite the level of sonic perfection found on Infrared. Richard lays her soul bare for all to witness, complete with personal confessions, biblical imagery, and the perils of dancing upon the threshold between hate and love. If you’re seeking powerful, soulful r&b, this album is for you.
– stasi (@stasisphere)