Local Wire

Mello Mello

Despite An Abstract Love Story's playfully ribald themes, orgasmic vocal snippets, and big-person talk of wine and toking cabbage, one just can't shake a rather juvenile image: that indecisive protagonist from childhood cartoons, the voices of heavenly reason and deviltry whispering in each of his ears. On one shoulder there's Xtravagentways, the emcee/rogue ever focused on slipping the ladies a length. On the other, vocalist Rich Reddy, all about cards with frilly edges and shooting water pistols to win his girl a plush teddy bear. Like the cartoons, the effect on An Abstract Love Story is similar: The head spins as tracks are pulled in two different directions. On "The Best Thing 4 U Iz Me!" Xtravagentways' sex-tinged effrontery runs unchecked, while Reddy shuffles his feet, delivering lines like "I hope you don't mind." One wonders if come guys' night out (explored in "Steppin' Out"), Xtravagentways ditches his cohort; he sounds like one sucky wingman. Nonetheless, the album's highlights (Reddy's voice, smooth as the silk sheets Xtravagentways fucks upon; the buried, echo-drenched synths and soulful horns of "Mello Mello"; the mandolin-sounding melody of "Do You Love Me or Hate Me") suggest this R&B duo is capable of more brilliant future efforts.
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Ryan Foley