D’Angelo & the Vangurd: Black Messiah

Black Messiah
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Artist: D'Angelo & The Vanguard
Genre: R&B / Soul
Label: RCA

D’Angelo’s first album in 14 years arrived out of the blue in that pre-Christmas lull when everyone thought the year was done and dusted.

Not D'Angelo, who went from missing in action since Voodoo (2000) to the thick of the action in the blink of an eye. D'Angelo's intensity, funk and fierce determination comes good again and again on Black Messiah, a hosanna of an album.

Every track is tricked out and super-loaded, a series of superlative jams in which D’Angelo gets loose and goes far, pushed and prodded by various collaborators, including Roots’ drummer Questlove.

Lyrically he goes deep, as tracks address US society’s never-ending problems with race relations, as well as those trademark slo-mo, sultry romantic odes. Shows again that digging vintage grooves for inspiration is no bad thing when you’ve a master with his hands on the controls.