José James: While You Were Sleeping

While You Were Sleeping
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Artist: José James
Genre: Pop
Label: Blue Note

Minneapolis singer José James kicked off his Blue Note residency last year with No Beginning, No End. Like his previous albums for Brownswood, it was full of rich, vibrant grooves that swung and swayed around the houses. There's a similar vibe to While You Were Sleeping, as James adds indie rock and psychedelic funk to the pot alongside the pop, soul, jazz, r'n'b and hip-hop flavours of old. Not everything works – the guitars on Angel and Anywhere U Go are jarring rather than jingling and appear aimed at another planet entirely. But James redeems himself somewhat with tracks U R the 1 (full of particularly lush wobbles) and 4 Noble Truths. A well-judged closing cover of Al Green's Simply Beautiful is a nice palate cleanser, but it also serves to remind you that While You Were Sleeping lacks more strong songs like it.

Download: U R the 1, Simply Beautiful