In our recent exclusive preview of Matt Martians‘ (you know, only part of Grammy-nominated R&B royalty The Internet) solo album The Drum Chord Theory, the man himself described it as “an album that tells a story. It’s a guy, he’s having problems with a girl. Then he takes some acid… After I find the acid it gets weirder.”
No shit. This is psychedelic R&B in a way you’ve never experienced, like Janelle Monae‘s Cindi had it off with Ariel Pink while listening to unadulterated funk records. That’s how the opener Spend The Night / If You Were My GF kicks off, tumbling through with cosmic instrumentation that takes flight on the occasionally-abstract musings of What Love Is.
It’s ramshackle, it’s trippy, and it certainly reveals what’s under the hood of a regular Internet song… and also what reins him in. Where Are Yo Friends? starts as a fairly listenable jam before it skews off along with Martians’ train of thought, like he suddenly became distracted by something shiny and sent his tune towards it. It almost feels like he needs a Syd – or maybe more in this case a Willow Smith – to course correct, something this record occasionally needs.
Thank Christ for Southern Isolation, then, which rolls up all his talent, lights it up, and lets it puff with those breathy backbeats as it wistfully looks out at summer nights with a haze of love. And after the acid takes hold? More fancy trips with Dent Jusay and the excellent Diamond In Da Ruff, which bring out his inner Thundercat. All sound in theory, then, but just needs a little bit more help trying to communicate it to others.