It's definitely better than Apollo XXI, but I guess I'm still waiting for a full Steve Lacy album to click. This album obviously has its highlights - the bossa nova-tinged Mercury, the upbeat breeze Sunshine (even if I feel like Fousheé, as good as her feature is, is like 80% of the track), the audacity of Bad Habit; a track that finds an incredible chord progression and just rides it for 4 minutes straight with a disgustingly catchy hook; and a simply beautiful closer in the form of Give You the World. There's a lot to love about this album. And yet, I still get this feeling a lot of the time that Steve might still be in "demo tape" mode despite most of these songs being his most fleshed out yet. Even while I can admire the hazy, psychedelic sound, that same sound I can't say is always one that clicks with me - usually either cause of Lacy's occasionally weak vocal delivery or the lack of any real progression in structure (in particular Cody Freestyle in which Lacy takes some beautifully layered synth pads and just riffs over them for 4 straight minutes).
Still though, while I guess I'm not as blown away as I hoped to be, it's a real good step forward. And if Bad Habit ends up being the defining hit song of 2022, I wouldn't be complaining one bit.