By Kieran Webber
Most people have had some connection with Donald Glover whether that is through his character Troy in Community, his rap career or his hit TV show Atlanta. All of which have been highly enjoyed and critically acclaimed. Not to mention that he is set to take the role of a young Lando Calrissian (which is a perfect choice).
His past two full lengths was as a rapper but for Gambino’s latest release ‘Awaken, My Love’ he takes on the role of psychedelic funk wizard, and it is arguably his most complete and enjoyable body of work yet.
Opening track ‘Me and Your Mama’ is a dizzying yet majestic introduction into the new world of Gambino, the slow introduction bursts into a striking and powerful funk/psychedelic number that is reminiscent of Funkadelic even Pink Floyd in parts. The following tracks ‘Have Some Love’ and ‘Boogieman’ up the funk in a with its pulsing and hard driven bass backed by Glover’s powerful yet sometimes ethereal vocals.
It’s not just Donald’s funk rebirth that makes this album so damn impressive though, the production value is spectacular everything sounds crisp, clear and very intentional, even down to the intricate sounds such as the xylophone that can be heard ‘terrified’.
It is clear that this album is a nod to his influences and peers as you can hear them clear as day – Parliament, James Brown, Prince and Funkadelic to name but a few are heard. This album is a throwback to the soulful seventies with Gambino’s magic spice thrown in and it is absolutely delightful. Glover may be unsure what he wants from Gambino but it’s exciting to listen to him experiment and try new things, but what is clear is that he is having fun doing so.