So Much Light

Oh, Yuck

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    8
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So Much Light is the solo project of Sacramento-area singer/songwriter/producer Damien Verrett. An avowed R&B fanatic who has named dropped such influences as Drake and R. Kelly, Verrett crafts highly inventive, electronic-based pop with a subtle but distinctive soul vibe. He also layers his productions with an ambitious level of acoustic and electric instrumentation, from guitars and keyboards to horns, strings, and the occasional harp; a choice that pushes the overall tone of his 2017 full-length debut, Oh, Yuck, into Baroque pop and indie rock territory. Helping Verrett achieve this cross-genre aesthetic is co-producer Jason Cupp (American Football, the Elected, Finch). Given his softly emotive voice and penchant toward lilting, delicately melismatic vocalizations, it's easy to pick up on the contemporary R&B influence. Tracks like the quasar-thumping "Little Fanfare" and the yearning, circus pipe organ-inflected "Be Afraid" (which also features Chicago neo-soul vocalist Nnamdi Ogbonnaya), sound like hooky old-school soul jams produced by M83's Anthony Gonzalez. And while there is a level of orchestral high-mindedness in many of the tracks on Oh, Yuck (there's even an album-opening instrumental string fanfare courtesy of Joan of Arc's Nate Kinsella), Verrett reveals himself as a die-hard loverman, not afraid to pull out words like "hella" on "Love That Never Fades," and launching into a quavering, El DeBarge-level falsetto on the slow jam ballad "Idiot Soul." Elsewhere, Verrett invokes '80s-style new wave with cuts like the synth-buzzing "Summoner," and the pulsing "Let It Absorb You," both of which bring to mind similarly inclined contemporaries like the Naked and Famous and Frankmusik. Admittedly, while always engaging, some of the tracks on Oh, Yuck can blend together upon first listen and it may take a few spins for the less hook-oriented songs to emerge from Verrett's experimental indie-R&B tapestry. However, as Verrett's cheeky, ironic tile implies, Oh, Yuck, is a delightfully unexpected musical melange that sticks with you long after you've stepped deep into its soulful goo.

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