For her newest EP You +I, soul-cappella goddess Madison McFerrin veers outside of the lane we've cruised with her for the past three years. The lush, layered harmonies are still there, but the project is her first to feature instruments. The risk paid off beautifully, thanks to the production skills of her talented brother Taylor McFerrin (who dropped his sophomore album during the summer).
The EP begins with "re:Intro," a nod to her a cappella roots that sounds like a mournful elegy, solemn prayer and siren call all at once. It's a breathtaking preview of what's in store throughout the project.
Our playlists are quite familiar with the first two tracks – ruminative ballad, "No Room," and otherworldly groove, "TRY" – each emotive and elegant in their own way. The slow build of "Unwise" is instantly intoxicating as Ms. McFerrin sings goodbye to a former love. On "Know You Better," she puts her piano skills on display with a ragtime-esque arrangement as her dreamy vocals deliver the sweetest entreatment. Fans may recognize "Fallin'" from Finding Foundations: Vol. I, but with added allurement from gorgeous instrumentals, it sounds like a completely new song and the results are sublime.
As with her previous projects, our only complaint is that You + I is too brief; satisfying our souls, yet leaving us ever-so-hungry for more. Thankfully, she's in the midst of a tour, so we can get our fill live and in-person. While we can't help but hope that a full-length will drop in the near future, You + I stands out as a stellar array of Ms. McFerrin's capabilities.