A talented and artist with many different strings to his bow, Lee Knox has made his name as a singer, songwriter, pianist, and author, weaving his own creative universe through blending of RnB vibes and neo-soul sounds. Cut from the same cloth as Brian McKnight, Kem, and Tyrese, his work crosses mediums and genres, striking a chord with both the hearts and souls of his audience.
Stripping back his sound to the bare essentials, ‘A.S.A.P.’ is his new album, a heartfelt collection of acoustic recordings that bring centre on deep, emotive lyrics and expansive, relaxing melodies. Collating six tracks in total, the new album starts with ‘Forever Promise To’, a track that is built on a series of minimalist piano keys and lingering, smoky vocals. It’s a subtle, evocative track needs a powerful voice to carry it forward, and while Lee does his best, his voice just doesn’t seem to have the reach or depth to make it work, transitioning the track from a luscious, haunting ballad into an aimless, hollow melody.
As the album continues, it sparks to life with a cascade of acoustic guitar strings ushering the start of the title track. Blossoming with a curious sprinkle of magic, the track forms into an unbalanced contest between Lee’s vocals and his guitar, with the two waging war on an otherwise serene track, colliding overhead and subdued only by a wave of production that soothes everything. It’s an admittedly shaky start to the release, and as the album continues, it sadly only improves in short bursts, showing moments of potential amongst a growing volley of issues.
The fourth track “Quarter Past” offers stronger vocals, but overlaps them carelessly, staggering the melody rather than adding to it, while ‘No Feeling’ taps into a more expressive and entertaining balance, potentially growing to become his most accomplished track on the album. Closing on a rough note, ‘Silhouette’ journeys forward ultimately becomes the defining song of the EP, bringing all it’s faults and fleeting strengths into one five-and-a-half-minute synopsis that breaks you at the 4: 10-minute mark.
It might seem harsh, but it is difficult to be overly complimentary about ‘A.S.A.P.’, and while it comes from a good and passionate place, it’s style just doesn’t lend itself well to Lee’s voice or subtle instrumentals. With an album such as this, there is nowhere to hide, and the spotlight is cast brightly upon every note, illuminating the missteps above all. It’s brave decisions to release such an album, and full credit has to be given to Lee for his efforts, it’s just a shame that his transition from heavier, more defined sounds hasn’t gone as smoothly as we all would have hoped, because his talents are for more pronounced than ‘A.S.A.P.’ would lead you to believe.
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