“Radius” Allen Stone

Allen Stone

Radius Album Review

Capitol Records

Released May 26, 2015

Genre: Soul, R&B, Pop Rock

Self proclaimed “hippie with soul” Allen Stone returns with his second full length Radius. His self-titled debut exhibited the 28 year old crooner with a knack for formulating smooth, laid back jams with some 70s soul flair. Stone’s tracks felt fully alive, vibrant, and full of, obviously, soul. Although they contained aspects of throwback jams, they were nonetheless catered for the 21st Century generation of youngsters, looking for that new sound. On Radius, Stone keeps his distance once more – standing on the line between nostalgic and modern.

Whether it be strong, yet blatant 70s jams (“Upside”), socially aware observations on society (“American Privelage”), or cheap tunes looking for a hook (“Freedom”), Stone always has something to say, and the tracks thrive on a life of their own. However, memorability is a rare trait on this album as most of these songs fail to be compelling, innovative, or special. Since Stone is dealing with the same formula, a lot of these tracks sounds like B-Sides to singles from his self-titled debut. The one track that shows Stone taking matters into his own hands and actually doing something substantial with it is on the track “Freezer Burn” where his vocals sound Prince-like, and the strings and funky synths just accentuate the song even more as it culminates into a funk/soul romp that is anything but disappointing.

Radius is a good album, if you like no change with a special formula. I agree that Allen Stone is one of the stronger acts to come in the 70s neo-soul/funk genre. Radius is nothing but Allen Stone Part 2, with less memorable hooks and songwriting wrought with cliché comparisons and tropes, but a much more impressive sense of musicianship which I hope only grows stronger when Stone’s third LP comes around.

FAV TRACKS: Upside, Freezer Burn, Where You’re At

LEAST FAV TRACKS: Freedom, Symmetrical

SCORE: (5.5/10)

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