Black Pumas Album Review
Black Pumas (ATO)
Brooding and cinematic soul project from singer Eric Burton and guitarist/producer Adrian Quesada, Austin's Black Pumas spin the lost soundtrack to a gritty blaxploitation flick in the strange fever dream that is their eponymous debut. Aesthetic nodding to a vintage-era RZA production, Quesada crafts an LP that unfurls like a puma stalking its prey. From the opening drum breaks of "Black Moon Rising," a sinister slice of psychedelic R&B, the LP ignites as one long, slow burn. Even as Burton sings of blue skies, smooth sailing, and sweet conversation, an ominous tone lurks beneath the surface. And yet, whether he's gliding over densely layered production – sweeping strings, swirling electric guitar, organ stabs, and horn punches abound – or tucking into the subdued, stripped-down closer, Burton's deeply soulful voice aches, connects. True to their name, Black Pumas appeared out of nowhere, ready to pounce.