Gold Mind’s newest excavation, Tweet, gives us a taste of honey-drenched soul on her debut album Southern Hummingbird. Helmed by the lead single “Oops (Oh My),” a late-night R&B heater about the joys of “self-love,” one might figure the rest of her album is full of jerky, overproduced Missy Elliott numbers.
This is not the case.
The album takes its cue more from the classic soul of the ’70s and ’80s than modern R&B with surprising results. The album lovingly grooves along with rich vocals, soulful ballads and acoustic underpinnings.
Instrumentation and musicianship take a refreshing front seat over heavily produced, trendy R&B. Filled with impressive gems and intoxicating rhythms, there’s a song for almost every melodic mood. “Best Friend” is a reclined slow jam that pares up the laid-back, no fuss stylings of Tweet to the warmth of neo-soulite Bilal.
The range of Southern Hummingbird is remarkably multifaceted; from the stripped-down microphone & guitar vibe of “Motel” to the heartbreaking dark of “Drunk” which howls with carousing abandon (“I’d rather be drunk on a cloud far away from here than sober”) and inebriating to-and-fro melody. There’s a foray into early ’80s synth-soul with the old school-esque jam “Make Ur Move,” a throwback to the roller discos and poplockers of the era of excess and even tiptoes into honky-tonk country (“Complain”).
Largely the artist herself culls most of the album’s more potent material. Her more than 10 years toiling as an aspiring solo artist have paid off: Her skills as a songwriter, drummer and acoustic guitarist are impressively detailed here.
More complex than anything that can currently be offered up by a trio of “bootylicious” singers or a girl that’s not yet a woman, Tweet’s voice exhibits a unique redolence similar to the soul sirens of the seventies – Minnie Riperton, Evelyn Champagne King and Angela Bofill – rather than keeping up with the interchangeable chicks featured on the hook of a rap track.
She is distinctive amongst the crowded school of R&B fish. Her album is one that opts to lead by being lyrically open and musically adventurous. An old school-inspired record brimming with new school promise, Southern Hummingbird is the diary of an emerging musical talent on the rise.