Timeless. Classic. Authentic. Vintage soul. These terms have been used to describe the the sound and style of singer/songwriter Leon Bridges. But they very well could be used to describe his debut record Coming Home. Preceding the album's late-June release, the Bounce-Worthy crooner had already gained a massive following thanks to the viral success of his breakout title track and showstopping festival performances (Sundance Film Festival, SXSW).
Subsequent album leaks and supporting visuals proved that the native Texan wasn't simply cashing-in on the recent trend of retro soul, he truly embodied the spirit of a bygone era. The Motown-sounding "Better Man" was an uptempo confessional and plea for forgiveness from his woman, while the tribute "Lisa Sawyer" captivated with its personal narrative and doo-wop background vocals. Rooted in gospel, the contemplative "River" swayed us with earnest lyrics and tambourine slaps, contrasted by the carefree energy of the flirtatious "Smooth Sailing."
When the full album finally dropped, additional tracks like "Twistin' & Groovin'," "Brown Skin Girl" and "Flowers" showcased the full range of his talent, infusing touches of early rock and roll, blues and classic pop. Mr. Bridges had audibly convinced us that he was a seasoned soul veteran rather than a (then) 25-year old newcomer. -- B. Cakes