One for All Without Hesitation

  • AllMusic Rating
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

Nobody (known to his family as Elvin Estela) made a name for himself in the 2000s as a producer of swirling, murkily psychedelic hip-hop, both on his own and in collaboration (with the Mystic Chords of Memory and as a member of Blank Blue.) On One for All Without Hesitation, he steps out as a vocalist of sorts on a set of R&B-inspired jams that were born out of a particularly difficult period of his life. Romantic uncertainty and then heartbreak led him to compose words for the first time, which he added to a set of tracks he had already finished in the past few years, but which hadn’t been used. When it came time to sing, Nobody went the full Kanye route and Auto-Tuned everything. Perhaps he wasn’t sure of his unadorned singing voice, maybe he wanted to hide the nakedness of the words behind the synthetic sound, or maybe he just liked the sound of it, whatever the case, the result is polarizing. Even the most forgiving fan of Auto-Tuned vocals may be hard-pressed to swallow an entire album of its use. Especially since Nobody has a lot of words to get out, leaving very little space for the music to breathe. It’s too bad because the music is up to Nobody's usual excellent standards. Not as typically psych pop-influenced, but with plenty of R&B and even the occasional metal feel creeping in, the backing is very effective. There’s a sense of sadness that pervades most of the record, bottoming out with the bleakness of "Sleep for Daze." Only occasionally do any lighter feelings pop up, as on the breezy "Hey Love (On Our Own)," and on the album’s highlight, the lovely and feather-light "Psycho Alpha Theta." It makes for a varied and well-rounded listen that transmits the feelings of a messed-up love life extremely well. That is, if you can handle the vocals. Honestly, as the record goes along, the Auto-Tune gets easier to swallow and you may find that once you've bought into the conceit, it becomes oddly affecting. Almost as if the machines are struggling to transmit the soul and pain Nobody is struggling to deal with. Hesitation isn't easy listening, sonically or emotionally, but it is worth hearing if you are a fan of Nobody's work.

blue highlight denotes track pick