From his debut album Coming Home (2015) it was clear that soul music had a special talent with Leon Bridges. The Texan was good at creating a pleasant classic retro sound, at the most it lacked a truly personal view of the genre that had been drawn to the contemporary from Sam Cooke via Al Green to Frank Ocean.
Successor Good Thing (2018) already gave Bridges a more current sound, but it was his collaboration with the Texas guitar trio Khruangbin on the EP Texas Sun which really showed Bridges’ versatility.
The brooding guitar sound took Bridges to Los Angeles in his mind, where he started his third and best album in 2019 with a procession of musicians. Gold Diggers Sound. The subtle strumming in motorbike, the funky tingle he steam gives and the melancholy melody line that he rolls out in his latest single Why Don’t You Touch Me are just a few examples of his much more emphatic use of the guitar.
Together with jazz keyboardist Robert Glasper, multi-instrumentalist Terrace Martin, who also hails from jazz circles, and the singers of King, Bridges creates a fresh sound on his new album that is completely contemporary and yet does not want to be too hip.
Bridges never tries to impress. He sings modestly, the tempo remains slow and slowly he draws the listener deeper and deeper into his emotional world.
It is pleasant to stay there. A little swaying, swooning and drinking in the warmth that comes from the blazers and keys. The slow, compelling soul that Bridges spreads so widely on his new album sometimes evokes memories of Maxwell’s in the nineties, but remains idiosyncratic enough to keep looking for other references for longer. Beautiful current soul album, this Gold Diggers Sound.
Gold Diggers Sound
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