Gallant: Ology | Virgin Media
Gallant: Ology

Gallant: OlogyAlbum review by Ian Gittins | Rating: ★★★★★

07/04/2016

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For decades, great soul music was all about fervent expressions of devout passion. Nowadays, remarkably, its sacred texts are all about understatement and implication.

R&B has become the haunted ground of whisperers, not shouters, and Christopher Gallant murmurs better than most. A 23-year-old Los Angeles-based neo-soul singer, he has released a stream of increasingly acclaimed tracks before this debut album.

And what a debut it is. Working with his partner in crime, LA producer STINT, Gallant is a master of a school of enervated yet enraptured R&B that wisps at you from the heart of a diaphanous haze. What he does may be languid and minimal but it is also incredibly intense.

On the viscous longing of Talking To Myself, his voice is a spectral, querulous falsetto, as if its very timbre is gripped by the unbearable lightness of being. The title is fitting: on both that track and the equally fantastic Bourbon the voice and music sound utterly self-absorbed; hermetically sealed.

Gallant: Ology

Gallant has a tremendous voice, a ferocious falsetto like David McAlmont prowling a digital wonderland, and he utilises it to amazing effect on Weight In Gold. Allied with Snow’s glitchy alchemy, he pulls off the Prince trick of dreaming up music so carnal and breathless that it appears to mess with the rules of time and space.

Likewise, Counting sounds so lovelorn that you can taste the yearning and endless, anguished lonely nights as Gallant wisps, “I’m counting on you.” At times you get hints of The Weeknd’s hushed, dysfunctional soul, but whereas Weeknd always comes across as an opportunistic sexual predator, Gallant appears pure, noble, almost enraptured.

Jupiter is suitably spaced-out, astral soul, yet probably the stand-out track is Skipping Stones, a duet with the skittish Jhene Aiko, where Gallant’s tremulous quaver of a testifying vocal is worthy of prime Motown. Christopher Gallant’s debut represents quite an arrival.

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