Dam-Funk - Invite The Light LP
(Stones Throw, 2015)
"Six years after his debut, Riddick has come back with a new solo LP. It's expectedly long—clocking in at 80 minutes, exactly the limit of what you can fit on a single CD—and charmingly handmade (once again recorded mostly by himself at home). But just as Riddick's appeal has grown in the years since, so has the scope of his music. On Invite The Light, he's surrounded by some of his favorite musicians. (Notably, funk legend Junie Morrison narrates an intro and outro telling the cautionary tale of a future where funk has been forgotten.) Riddick's songwriting has also grown tighter. Where previous work featured low-key vocals—often chanted or muttered phrases rather than full-on lyrics—he sounds like a new man here, crooning his heart out with the same intensity he brings to live performances. All of which is apparent from the outset on "We Continue," a classic Riddick track that celebrates funk's endurance with a slick hook and rich synth line stretching out across the background.
As the title implies, Invite The Light is all about positivity and focusing on the good things in life, though Riddick isn't spouting empty rhetoric. He stresses the need for happiness and good vibes, but also wrestles with the harsher realities of everyday life. He yearns for a place where "the stars shine brighter" on "Somewhere, Someday," prays for society to change on "Virtuous Progression" and reaffirms dedication to his craft in the face of an apathetic world on "I'm Just Tryna Survive In The Big City" (a highlight that comes in two versions with a dextrous verse from Q-Tip). At the album's center, the shorter tracks outline a mini-saga that begins with the gruff "HowUGonFu*kAroundAndChooseABusta" and bottoms out on the mournful "It Didn't Have To End This Way." It picks up again with the bittersweet "Missing U," a bite-sized portion of old-school vocoder funk that ramps the album up into its slam-dunk second half." - Andrew Ryce for Resident Advisor