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Black Pumas|Chronicles of a Diamond

Chronicles of a Diamond

Black Pumas

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The powerful duo of guitarist/producer Adrian Quesada and singer Eric Burton has an emerging vision for the retro universe they're creating. They understand soul music and together they're determined to add something new to its commanding canon. With Burton writing most of the songs and Quesada adding electric guitar chords and building arrangements, the influences are obvious. Names like Donny Hathaway and Al Green can be added to Sam Cooke and Neil Young, who are mentioned in the band's bio. The patron saint here, though, is Prince, who hovers over and inside tunes like "Ice Cream (Pay Phone)" and the funky "Sauvignon" (featuring Burton's urgent, impassioned falsetto). It's that voice that is front and center on Black Puma's secone album, Chronicles of a Diamond, and also seems to be the reason why everything is taken at a uniformly slow-to-midtempo pace with no true ballads and nothing galloping with abandon. As this collection plays, melody and structure give way to jams which give Burton space to stretch, as in the rhythmic piano chord pounding of "Mrs. Postman," where he finds room to testify. Or "More Than a Love Song" where the music fades away leaving just his voice, imparting the message, "Life is more than a love song, more than a fantasy. More than dream, more than a fantasy." A much-needed change of pace comes in "Angel," which opens with just an acoustic guitar before Burton sings with discipline and beauty to finger snaps and delicate keyboard flutters. He uses his falsetto to great effect in the lighthearted "Hello," which features swirling keyboards and background vocals from Lauren Cervantes and Angela Miller. The duo's psychedelic side, which was a big part of their self-titled debut's success, has been de-emphasized, appearing in brief bursts like in the fuzzed-out, phased-out guitar licks of "Tomorrow." "Rock and Roll" is more a steady chant, enhanced by distortion and echo on Burton's voice. Following acclaimed debuts is difficult but Chronicles of a Diamond surprises with a 1960s sweet soul direction that still tries to be more than a sum of its towering influences.  © Robert Baird/Qobuz

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Chronicles of a Diamond

Black Pumas

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1
More Than a Love Song
00:04:47

Adrian Quesada, Composer, Producer, MixingEngineer - John Congleton, Producer - Eric Burton, Composer, Producer - Black Pumas, MainArtist - Aaron Glemboski, MixingEngineer

2023 ATO Records, under exclusive license to [PIAS] 2023 ATO Records, under exclusive license to [PIAS]

2
Ice Cream (Pay Phone)
00:03:52

Shawn Everett, MixingEngineer - Adrian Quesada, Producer - Eric Burton, Composer, Producer - Black Pumas, MainArtist

2023 ATO Records, under exclusive license to [PIAS] 2023 ATO Records, under exclusive license to [PIAS]

3
Mrs. Postman
00:04:08

Shawn Everett, MixingEngineer - Adrian Quesada, Composer, Producer - Eric Burton, Composer, Producer - Black Pumas, MainArtist - JaRon Marshall, Composer

2023 ATO Records, under exclusive license to [PIAS] 2023 ATO Records, under exclusive license to [PIAS]

4
Chronicles of a Diamond
00:03:29

Shawn Everett, MixingEngineer - Adrian Quesada, Producer - John Congleton, Producer - Eric Burton, Composer, Producer - Black Pumas, MainArtist

2023 ATO Records, under exclusive license to [PIAS] 2023 ATO Records, under exclusive license to [PIAS]

5
Angel
00:05:05

Shawn Everett, MixingEngineer - Adrian Quesada, Producer - Eric Burton, Composer, Producer - Black Pumas, MainArtist

2023 ATO Records, under exclusive license to [PIAS] 2023 ATO Records, under exclusive license to [PIAS]

6
Hello
00:03:57

Shawn Everett, MixingEngineer - Adrian Quesada, Producer - Eric Burton, Composer, Producer - Black Pumas, MainArtist

2023 ATO Records, under exclusive license to [PIAS] 2023 ATO Records, under exclusive license to [PIAS]

7
Sauvignon
00:03:19

Shawn Everett, MixingEngineer - Adrian Quesada, Composer, Producer - John Congleton, Producer - Eric Burton, Composer, Producer - Black Pumas, MainArtist

2023 ATO Records, under exclusive license to [PIAS] 2023 ATO Records, under exclusive license to [PIAS]

8
Tomorrow
00:04:51

Shawn Everett, MixingEngineer - Adrian Quesada, Producer - Eric Burton, Composer, Producer - Black Pumas, MainArtist

2023 ATO Records, under exclusive license to [PIAS] 2023 ATO Records, under exclusive license to [PIAS]

9
Gemini Sun
00:04:33

Shawn Everett, MixingEngineer - Adrian Quesada, Producer - John Congleton, Producer - Eric Burton, Composer, Producer - Black Pumas, MainArtist

2023 ATO Records, under exclusive license to [PIAS] 2023 ATO Records, under exclusive license to [PIAS]

10
Rock and Roll
00:04:52

Shawn Everett, MixingEngineer - Adrian Quesada, Producer - John Congleton, Producer - Eric Burton, Composer, Producer - Black Pumas, MainArtist

2023 ATO Records, under exclusive license to [PIAS] 2023 ATO Records, under exclusive license to [PIAS]

Album review

The powerful duo of guitarist/producer Adrian Quesada and singer Eric Burton has an emerging vision for the retro universe they're creating. They understand soul music and together they're determined to add something new to its commanding canon. With Burton writing most of the songs and Quesada adding electric guitar chords and building arrangements, the influences are obvious. Names like Donny Hathaway and Al Green can be added to Sam Cooke and Neil Young, who are mentioned in the band's bio. The patron saint here, though, is Prince, who hovers over and inside tunes like "Ice Cream (Pay Phone)" and the funky "Sauvignon" (featuring Burton's urgent, impassioned falsetto). It's that voice that is front and center on Black Puma's secone album, Chronicles of a Diamond, and also seems to be the reason why everything is taken at a uniformly slow-to-midtempo pace with no true ballads and nothing galloping with abandon. As this collection plays, melody and structure give way to jams which give Burton space to stretch, as in the rhythmic piano chord pounding of "Mrs. Postman," where he finds room to testify. Or "More Than a Love Song" where the music fades away leaving just his voice, imparting the message, "Life is more than a love song, more than a fantasy. More than dream, more than a fantasy." A much-needed change of pace comes in "Angel," which opens with just an acoustic guitar before Burton sings with discipline and beauty to finger snaps and delicate keyboard flutters. He uses his falsetto to great effect in the lighthearted "Hello," which features swirling keyboards and background vocals from Lauren Cervantes and Angela Miller. The duo's psychedelic side, which was a big part of their self-titled debut's success, has been de-emphasized, appearing in brief bursts like in the fuzzed-out, phased-out guitar licks of "Tomorrow." "Rock and Roll" is more a steady chant, enhanced by distortion and echo on Burton's voice. Following acclaimed debuts is difficult but Chronicles of a Diamond surprises with a 1960s sweet soul direction that still tries to be more than a sum of its towering influences.  © Robert Baird/Qobuz

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