D’Angelo And The Vanguard

Black Messiah RCA | CD/DL

Q-Tip and Funkadelic member Kendra Foster help out on the R&B innovator’s surprise comeback.

GLIDING THROUGH THE OFFBEAT in a spaceship made from mind-scrambling psych-funk and accompanied by a chipmunk choir of multi-tracked voices, D’Angelo’s music has always suggested a man on a mission. And almost 15 years after the bald rhythms of Voodoo ushered in a new vocabulary for R&B, Black Messiah is witness to the emergence a more political artist. From its title to 1000 Deaths (which features a sample of controversial activist Khalid Muhammad calling for “Jesus, the black revolutionary”) the singer’s reappearance in the post-Ferguson climate feels like nothing less than a superhero donning his cape. Black Messiah is an exquisite realisation of what D’Angelo does best. From the acidic, yo-yo riffing of The Charade, Till It’s Done (Tutu) and Prayer (basically The Lord’s Prayer dipped in hues of purple rain) to the gold-plated balladry of Really Love and Another Life, this a beaming, single-minded statement of spiritual rebirth and political reckoning.

D’Angelo – aka Michael Eugene Archer. Surprise! His long-rumoured album turns out to be an instant classic.

Black Messiah is streaming now…