Thursday, 23 May 2024

UAX Serenades Listeners With Potent Love Anthems On ‘Love & Hustle’ [Album Review]

2024 seems to have picked up with quality music releases in its second quarter, after a slow first quarter. However, this never applied to non-mainstream music as there wasn’t a shortage of amazing music released by niche and underground acts in Q1.

UAX's "Love & Hustle" album cover

UAX’s “Love & Hustle” album cover

The Nigerian RnB scene has been gaining serious momentum over the past couple of years, with more and more local bred artists fusing RnB and Afrobeats in ingenious, delectable ways that have resulted in great projects over the years. Nonso Amadi’s When It Blooms, Mannywelz’s Don’t Tell Anyone, Funbi’s Love Lust being recent great examples. And that’s limiting it to the pure RnB acts, asides the mainstream popstars like Fireboy DML and Ayra Starr that also have great RnB projects.

Basically, UAX joins the top echelon of artists that have crafted not just potent RnB records, but cohesive projects that merges all the right elements of an immersive experience into one easily digestible listen. Love & Hustle doesn’t only have great songs that tug at your heart strings in the most meaningful ways, but also offers a wholesome experience that leaves lingering effects long when you’re done listening.

Sweet Time functions better as an album opener, than a song in itself because it unpacks the soundscape of emotive lyrics and hard hitting drum rolls—and is so succinct, that it doesn’t let you lose yourself until the beat switch and seamless transition to Everseen. The song has the sort of mid tempo, hips gyrating bounce that would light up the club and send sparks skittering up in the licentious corners of the nightlife. UAX understands the assignment, and prioritizes cadence and rhythm over the deepest lyrics.

On Nothing Compares ft. TMXO the tempo is dialed down and the pace is a more mellow one, that incites even more intimacy in the way the production is structured in the sense that it’s more stripped back and naked, and UAX’s performance personifies this same vulnerable sentiment and for that, it works. Nightshift takes that sentiment and ramps it up to the highest modulation. The record is so…naked, to the point that it sounds like a therapy session and confessions after lucid memories and empty, numb nights.

Evergreen returns things back to sunnier and more picturesque soundscapes with an up-tempo rhythm and a lighter thematic direction. The drums are still very minimal, a recurring element in the Album. Matter of fact, sometimes they’re sparsely used it feels like just another one of the instruments interacting with the myriad of differing harmonies thrown into the mix.

Commas is basically an interlude in disguise and then Lagos 2 Crazy, which is arguably the best record on the album comes around. The production has the sort of psychedelic, rumbling synths and galloping bounce you could find on a Travis Scott-esque Hip-Hop record. UAX is as smooth as butter on the beat and glides over it so smoothly. Too Proud to Beg is cut from the same sonic fabric, except it’s geared in a romantic direction while the former is more oriented towards surviving the underbellies of the night life.

Koselomi ends the album on an incredibly high note and is also arguably the best the album has to offer. The Afroswing production has EDM and synth-pop elements infused into it and it makes for a very electrifying, rousing record. It’s the most sonically distinct song on the album, yet it doesn’t sound on place due to UAX’S unified delivery all through the album.

Although it does have the tendency to sound monotonous, as there is very thin line between being monotonous and having tight cohesion and this album walks the tight rope in numerous instances, but overall it’s a triumph and another great RnB project that capitalizes on the RnB movement and delivers a great experience.

Final Verdict:

Sonic Cohesion: 1.8/2
Unharried Transitions: 1.8/2
Expansive Production: 1.3/2
Songwriting & Delivery: 1.4/2
Optimal Track Sequencing: 1.5/2

Total: 7.8/10

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