When I started this "Need to Hear" business, I really didn't mean for it to turn into one song and one song only. I figured there would be a beat, an album, something other than just one song, and yet we only have four songs in the series so far. Don't get me wrong, I love each and every one like I love each and every Chipotle burrito I eat, but I've been looking forward to nerding out about a larger project. Finally, the time is here. If you're reading this feature you aren't too late to enjoy The O'My's Keeping the Faith EP. There was so much music released last week I almost couldn't deal. Kendrick, Drake AND Chance?! Is there time for anything else? Well, you better make time for this four-track effort.
I love soul music. When I listen to Marvin, Stevie or Bill, it's a feeling that can't be replicated or easily explained. It' so pure. A warmth runs through my body and I can literally feel my soul being rejuvenated. That being said, soul music isn't that "experimental." For the most part I know exactly what I am getting; it's a winning formula, but a formula nonetheless. Not this EP. The instrumentals, the vibe, and the energy are distinctly soulful and so lively, but the lead singer, Maceo Haymes, gives the group such a unique edge. I love all the different changes in his voice and quite frankly I've never heard anything like it.
Take "Pieces." The instrumental has a darker, sleuthing feel to it and you would think a deep, raspy approach would be best, yet Haymes comes with a high-pitched, syrupy attack and it adds an awesome flavor to the effort. His voice is theatrical and almost sounds like he is playing character; if you like that sound I also recommend "Rise Up Singing." While it's surprising and so unique, at no point does it sound wrong. For a group to have such a unique, diverse approach and have it fit so naturally speaks volumes to their talent.
The world is of course currently obsessed with Drake because he's Drake, but to me his project was blah. It didn't have any power or spark because Drake didn't offer up anything new, even though the "not an album" ran 17 tracks. By contrast, although the Keeping the Faith EP is only four songs in total, it feels like a more complete, enriching listen than a surprise mix-album because the music that The O'My's bring is of the upmost quality and they offer something no other group can. Their experimental soul style provides a rewarding, engaging, and dense experience. It leaves you with the indescribable feeing of a great soul cut, but it will also challenge you as a listener and in the end, that's more important than an album full of almost-bangers.
It's so rare when an act can be described as a "soul" band and then actually offer up something completely new, but The O'My's have done it. For that they're well worth your time, you need to hear this.
Nxworries (Anderson .Paak & Knxwledge) - "Suede": Anderson is one of my favorite artists around right now.
Grieves - "Cougar Catnip": It's been a while since I've heard from Grieves. I wasn't expecting this type of song, but I really dig it. Welcome back!
Kendrick Lamar - "The Blacker The Berry": Keep an eye on this up and comer. Have a feeling he could make a splash... [sarcasm]
[Lucas Garrison is a writer for DJBooth.net. His favorite album is “College Dropout,” but you can also tweet him your favorite Migos songs at @LucasDJBooth.]