Jordan Rakei – Cloak \\ Best Albums of 2016

Over the next few weeks we’ll be revealing our ten best albums of 2016. 

Australia’s music scene, home to Hiatus Kaiyote, Remi, and Sampa The Great, plays to its own rules, and the world’s ears listen to the beat of its neo-soul. So it was interesting when Brisbane resident Jordan Rakei left Australia behind for London in 2014, a city that has soul talent but hasn’t gained International recognition for it in the way that his home turf has.

Listen to the songwriting on Cloak and you’ll hear caramel grooves, off-beat chords and more claps than If You’re Happy And You Know it. On paper, it shouldn’t work, but where Jordan Rakei succeeds is where other contemporary soul vocalists like Jarrod Lawson struggle; production is crispy tight – anything soft and glowing would be far too reminiscent of 90s soul – a sound we’re not ready to see revive itself just yet. This album has the widest appeal of our shortlist; Blame It On The Youth has the bounce to invite both twenty-somethings and granddads to pull some shapes – and in the case of the latter, maybe a muscle. Meanwhile Rooftop (above) is closer to a ballad – an anthem for unrequited love; “I found love, has this love even found me, fell deep for nothing, still I’m falling for you“.

The dense South American rhythms and thick, luxurious chords make Talk To Me warmly symptomatic of 2016. UK drummer Richard Spaven is collaborator on Toko – a track that has the most intense sweet spot of any chorus we’ve heard this year. Awkwardly named tracks can be a feature of the genre, but Cupid’s Cheese more than redeems itself with its shattering electronic bedding. Cloak proves that soul travels. If you like Cloak and you know it, clap your hands.

Check out Jordan Rakei’s new electronic project Dan Kye on this episode of Jazz Standard.

JS | Tina Edwards

Over the next few weeks we’ll be revealing the best ten albums of 2016. What do you think should be in there? Tweet us @jazz_standard.

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