Face Your Fear ups the ante for Harding, bumping him from promising newcomer to major artist, and if you like good songs played and sung with true conviction, you won't want to sleep on this.
Caesar's sound still prompts a mix of comparisons and distinctions: Frank Ocean with concision, Miguel without sleaze, a less extroverted BJ the Chicago Kid, a sanctified (if still occasionally expletive) Internet. Factor all of that in, and there's still a uniqueness to Freudian.
Made with longtime recording partner Harry Hirsch, the set advances his progressive, often breezy, slightly psychedelic sound rooted in soul and funk.
In the end, Ash is many things: militant, vulnerable, and tender; it is urgent yet unhurried, its sharp edges unapologetically exposed. It is rooted in struggles and seeks victory, not deliverance. It is not only memorable, but indomitable and beautiful.
For all the conflict imagery, War & Leisure is often brightly colored, even upbeat.
The album's potent mix of soul-searching lyrics and spaced-out sonics lends itself to deep thought and accompanied stargazing.
Additional guests Kendrick, Pharrell, and Wiz Khalifa add to the star power, but the main attraction is Bruner's singular combination of tremulous yet fluid bass and aching falsetto.
Beach House III is nonetheless conclusive evidence that the singer, rapper, songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist is among the most skilled and creative figures in the business.