In the internet era, it is very easy for “creative” things to catch a huge ephemeral wave, then fade, or on the other hand, become overlooked completely. Rarely is there a nice in-between where products are digested and valued on their own merit. Inglewood native SiR’s debut LP, Seven Sundays, is one of those creative products that so far has a balance of the two. Released three and half months ago on Fresh Selects, a left of center music label ran by Kenny Fresh in Portland, OR, Seven Sundays is an album that has gotten love from the likes of Anita Baker and received airplay on NPR. Yet, in many ways this offering from SiR still seems under appreciated.
Having cut his teeth engineering and writing for the likes of Tyrese, Bilal, and Jill Scott, SiR’s talent shone through clearly on these songs. The album in itself feels intimate as blowing trees shirtless in a closed bedroom with a lover; as insular as a basement beat tape with an obscure yet warm vinyl sample source; as meticulously crafted in terms of tone and rhythm, as a drawing by Kenturah Davis. Also for an album with eight producers and only 14 songs, it has a singular identity, while moving through many textures.
The Knxwledge produced track “Love You,” sets the mood perfectly with its crystalline-colored sample and glitchy drums. SiR’s vocals about just wanting to love his woman rest like honey over the beat – it’s a fantastic opener. “In The Sky” follows with a brooding loop of cooing that is as blunted and confident as an anti-hero in a Blaxploitation flick. SiR flexes his Inglewood swagger by harmonizing subtle threats to those who may want to test his manhood. By the end of Fat Ron’s verse, “In The Sky” makes one know the influence of Slum Village is alive and well. Another track that keeps the head nod factor steady is the narcotic J.LBS produced “Jay Z.” Here, SiR tells a fragmented tale of cruising the streets of South LA counting his money. It’s short and impressionistic, while leaving the listener craving more.
Yet, Seven Sunday’s two jewels are “Falling” and “He Deserves Your Love.” In these songs, SiR’s immense talent as a songwriter and storyteller shine like constellations in the skies far away from a major city. On these two songs, SiR is honest, vulnerable, and melodic. On “Falling,” as SiR outlines in tender, asshole couplets why a relationship didn’t work out, Alvin Isaacs II’s popping drums, erotic bassline, and hypnotic guitar strumming rest under the vocals like an old catcher’s glove. The song feels as celestial as it does terrestrial. Then there is the heart-breaking “He Deserves Your Love,” a song any man who has loved a good woman and had her leave his life, understands. From a narrative distance that feels like watching a city alone from a far off hill, SiR sings about regret and acceptance: he recalls the mistakes he made in their relations, while the woman has moved on and found happiness. DK the Punisher’s evocative production is just icing on the multilayered cake.
To close, SiR’s album is a unique contrast to the wannabe-thug-in-the-club singing-trap rap hybrid that is most contemporary R&B. Though some of the 14 tracks might not be everyone’s cup of tea, there is not one dud on here. And while pulling from the more methodical and sample-based aesthetics of LA’s beat scene, Seven Sunday’s also conveys a deceptively simple craftsmanship that conjures the work of Dwele and Musiq Soulchild. This album should end up on many best of 2015 lists, and if it doesn’t, don’t trust that publication.
Written by: Francisco McCurry