Alternative R&B up-and-comer Steve Lacy returns with his hotly anticipated new album: Gemini Rights. Three years after his breakout success Apollo XXI, the Compton, California native’s latest album has redefined his sound, and will likely impact the genre for time to come.
From the very beginning, listeners are transported into a tightly-knit sonic world with the intro track “Static,” which immediately feels more complex and cohesive than anything from Lacy’s prior catalogue. And despite playing with countless influences throughout the album’s 35 minutes, Gemini Rights never seems to get away from itself. Lacy bounces between elements of hip-hop, classical R&B, and modern pop, even toying with bits of gospel and classic rock. His signature sound of bouncy, psychedelic R&B – conceived through his work with The Internet and crystallized in his previous solo works – returns. But in Gemini Rights, this style feels much more refined and restrained – to great effect.
There are several songs on the album that are particularly excellent, including the Latin-inspired groove “Mercury,” and the triumphant “Sunshine” (featuring Fousheé). The single “Bad Habit” is also a standout, satisfying, yet also completely subverting expectations of a modern pop song thanks to the bold choice of completely forgoing the (extremely catchy) hook and rhythm for its second half.
Whereas Apollo XXI didn’t always succeed in its attempts to take listeners through a seamless sonic journey, Gemini Rights excels on this front. The tracklist flows effortlessly between upbeat, youthful, energetic tracks and more somber, emotional numbers, showing off a breadth of style and sensory nuance that can only come with an older, more matured artist.
Gemini Rights will doubtlessly be regarded as a turning point in Steve Lacy’s career, propelling him to a more clear, mature style and laying the foundations for an exciting body of work that has just begun to blossom.