British musician SG Lewis presented a fresh catalog of funky house grooves fit for the dancefloor — a.k.a. the kitchen — on his debut album “times,” released Friday.
In a time of closed clubs and COVID-19 fears, the 26-year-old singer and producer has gifted audiences with an electronically embellished, nu-disco record perfect for any at-home dance party.
The album’s opener, “Time,” featuring Rhye, highlights the influence of house music on listeners: “There was harmony in the music / There was harmony in the behavior of the people / And we had a good time.” Layered underneath Lewis’ smooth vocal reverb, the track’s vibrant instrumentation features fast tempos, stuttering keys and syncopated bass lines.
As embarrassed as I am to admit it, listening to “Back To Earth” led me to make a spontaneous disco ball purchase. In addition to captivating, luscious vocals, the track includes side chatter and cheerful soundbites which mimic traditional dance floor ambience.
“One More,” featuring Nile Rodgers, stitches together smooth synths and electronic guitar to set the scene for a nostalgic night out: “So we’ll go out on the balcony, light ourselves a smoke / Start talkin’ to people that we don’t even know / Maybe call a taxi to hit another spot.” The track seamlessly blends a catchy chorus with an intoxicating jazz groove, making it my favorite on the record.
Rather than portraying the dancefloor with harmony and love, “Heartbreak On The Dancefloor (feat. Frances)” depicts the opposite: “Pick my poison, and you’re right there / With somebody, I look over / You don’t even notice that I’m staring.” UK singer-songwriter Frances steals the show, slowing down the record with harmonious, passionate vocals over a soft, pulsating beat.
If “Heartbreak On The Dancefloor” departs from disco, “Rosner’s Interlude” champions it. Combined with electronic video-game-like keys, the track samples an interview soundbite from ‘70s disco sound engineer Alex Rosner. Layered over twinkling keys, Rosner professes his love for disco with lyrics like “Most of the disco music at the time had harmony / If the music lacks harmony, it doesn't move me at all / And I don’t feel like getting up out of my chair to dance.”
Backed by rising synths and deep bass lines, “Chemicals” narrates an internal emotional conflict spurred by drug use: “Thing I took a bit too much / Eyes a wider lens / And I see it all so much clearer now, this time / Do you feel like I do?” While I enjoyed the track’s subtle beat and melodic guitar, I didn’t love its repetitive nature.
“Impact (feat. Robyn & Channel Tres)” and “All We Have (feat. Lastlings)” both give off a claustrophobic-yet-inviting vibe that I was drawn to. Whether it was the tracks’ muffled vocal leads or their intoxicating, pillowy drums, I was hooked.
The album’s closer “Fall” grants listeners an exhale after a rollercoaster of a record. Whimsical and dreamy, the track leans on airy electronic keyboard and beautifully auto-tuned vocals: “If you let me, I’ll be yours / I took for granted weight you bore / Now you’re fading, need you more.”
“Times’s” funky disco jams and deep-house hits are perfect for those looking to dance. On this album, Lewis took obvious inspiration from past decades, and now I’m curious to see what he will bring to the table with future projects.