Band of Pockets is a musical duo made up of Swedish guitarist/composer J.O. Nilsson and Washington DC, USA-raised singer/songwriter Yona Marie. The duo joined forces at the height of the pandemic in 2020 and developed their distinct sound made up of elements of soul, R&B, Neo-soul and funk all interweaved with a retro aesthetic. Their latest effort Moving On Again is an 8-track body of work that showcases their musical versatility and range as artists who are able to bend the rules and take listeners on an epic ride filled with sultry melodies, head-nodding grooves and chilled ballads.
The project opens up with the bass-heavy "Take It Easy" which serves as the perfect opener as Yona's commanding vocals take precedence while her uplifting songwriting draws listeners in. It's as uplifting as they come and Yona implores us to sit back, relax and take the necessary break from the madness of the world. "Rich Girl" is a reflective soulful burner that explores Yona's humble beginning and her journey as a young woman trying to find her feet amidst the naysayers and detractors who try to take away her shine.
The energy switches up on "Tell me Straight" which sounds like a television theme music with its bright guitar riffs, lush funky stabs and Yona's sublime melodic runs. This is followed by the title track which talks about moving on from a relationship without animosity and with a positive mindset. Here Yona gets to display her rap skills and sure marvels with a smooth laidback cadence ripe with engaging and easy-to-follow rhyme schemes that explore the topic in detail.
"Looking For A Thing Called Love" ramps up the vie with its rousing drum grooves, rich guitar plucks and pulsating funk bassline which is underpinned by Yona's attention-grabbing lilting vocal runs. The icing on the cake is her performance where she channels the spirit of the past with her catchy melodies and energetic refrains reminiscent of Motown acts who paved the way.
The project sloes out with "Free to go (Interlude)" and "Flying My Private Jet". The former is a short sombre ballad while the latter is a mid-tempo funk-soul offering that sees the duo going on a sonic adventure as they take us on a ride or rather flight through different exotic destinations.
Overall, this project lives up to expectations with its cohesiveness and consistent musical style. They don't try to overcompensate with the modern pop aesthetic and stick to a distinct and well-crafted sound that plays to their strengths. I mean, if it is not broken why fix it?
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