Exhibiting the charm and promise that allowed Steve Lacy to become an artist to watch, the debut album, Apollo XXI showcases the depths of his potential.
Attracting fans through his work with The Internet, Lacy ventured off with the signature raw, demo-like quality, that has become apparent in his solo work. Coming to terms with his self-acceptance, Lacy bares the buildup of emotions but is somehow reluctant to be the star of his own show. Instead, Lacy is in the passenger seat while the electric instrumentation takes full control. The approach to this body of work is rough around the edges, but it captures the unfinished qualities of demo sounds, providing a much more engaging experience for listeners, sort of like, as if you’re behind the scenes witnessing it all come to life.
Stylistically limitless Lacy remains bold in an experiment that is sonically ambitious. Album opener, ‘Only If’ teases the groovy dynamics that is somewhat less apparent when factoring in his work with The Internet and Raven Lenae. Confidentially in charge, the nine minute outcry of the consequences of his sexuality, ‘Like Me’, is demanding of full attention. The funk overtones are apparent on ‘Playground’ but are reliant on indie-rock influences that is in full control throughout the album. Sculpted upon soaring vocal moments, Lacy provides the ability to evoke psychedelic synths and shimmering guitar riffs, allowing to appreciate his capabilities to declare a distinctive musical statement. Celebrating his liberation, the young powerhouse sets the groundwork for the past, present, and the future of his work.
Confidently in charge, Steve Lacy’s introduction is a laid-back, authentic approach to coming into his own. Despite how self-assured Lacy appears to be, the insecurities that are showcased restricts the full potential of the project, as at times it loses its own identity, and at times, it’s seems if it’s just an extension to ‘Steve Lacy’s Demo’. But that’s exactly Steve’s signature, the raw edge to R&B soundscapes provides sultry vibrations that bends indie-rock to an unfamiliar territory. Apollo XXI is just a glimpse into the future that isn’t as polished as it seems.