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New Music & Review: Joel Compass, ‘Astronaut EP’

Brent Faulkner Brent Faulkner
9/10/2013 12:00pm EDT


Joel Compass artistic potential shines brightly on his new EP Astronaut

Joel Compass⎪Astronaut EP ⎪ Photo Finish / Black Butter Records ⎪⎪ US Release Date: September 10, 2013

Joel_Compass_Jan_13-e1359457989271-518x345At 19, few people know exactly what they want to do in life or where they want to go.  Having an identity crisis is not unfounded.  For 19-year Brit Joel Compass, an identity crisis doesn’t seem to be a problem whatsoever, unless you consider an eclectic mix of modern pop, contemporary R&B, soul, and electronica an ‘identity crisis’.  Personally, the blend of multiple influences, not to mention one awesome voice (particularly that falsetto) makes this newcomer one to watch.  Don’t sleep on Joel, particularly since the Londoner just dropped a well-rounded, EP (Astronaut EP) featuring current single “Astronaut” as well as previously issued joint “F*cked Up”.  Four songs deep it may be, but take my word for it, listeners are in for a treat.

“Astronaut” opens the EP capably, mixing modern/contemporary R&B, pop, and electronic elements.  Vocally, Joel Compass possesses quite a compelling instrument, well attuned to both soulfulness and trendiness.  If nothing more, “Astronaut” has a sick vibe and shows the great potential of Compass.  Oh, and throw in a worthwhile hook and all is well. Nothing like a profane title to capture one’s attention, right? “F*cked Up” finds Compass keeping things 100.  In an age where the new generation expects straight-shooting, brutal honesty, Compass’ candidness about his state is welcome.  He’s “…so f*cked up and this girl won’t wake up…” The approach won’t please older folk who aren’t fans of their music incorporating f-bombs, but the twenty-somethings should definitely be on board – and relate.

“Kiss Love Goodbye” follows up solidly, opening mysteriously with the stoner/ alt-R&B.  Sure, there is a straight 4/4 groove anchoring things down, but the spacey, relaxed feel is modern, fresh, and in step with the nu-R&B of today.  Compass once more taps into elements of pop and electronic, incorporating the sounds and sensibilities of of dubstep.  Vocally, he continues to shine, filling in the subtle rhythms of the drums with his voice.   On the sweet “Back To Me”, Compass’s falsetto shines atop druggy production, making the comparison’s to Canadian R&B sensation The Weeknd legit for sure.  The approach to this ballad  again has it’s foot in the door to the past given Compass’s soulfulness, but also feels hip to the upmost.  Unafraid to experiment and expand the definitions and confines of R&B, “Back To Me” provides yet another consecutive triumphant number filled with potential.

Should you check out Joel Compass? The answer is one big emphatic yes!  Whether he’s “f*cked up” or not as he sings is besides the point – the man can S-A-N-G.  This EP offers a snapshot into what could potentially be a brilliant career, no questions asked.  Give JC some love… you won’t regret it in the least.

Standout: “Astronaut”


Verdict: ✰✰✰✰

Filed under: Electronic, Music, New Music, Pop, R&B/Soul, Urban Tagged: "Astronaut", "Back To Me", "Fucked Up", "Kiss Love Goodbye", alternative R&B, Astronaut EP, British soul, electronic, EP reviews, Joel Compass, modern R&B, music reviews, new music, pop
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