Welcome to the sonic equivalent of Zidane playing football. Gemini Rights, the second album by virtuoso Steve Lacy, is effortlessly brilliant; languidly sophisticated. Reminiscent of Zizou, Lacy bestrides his workplace majestically, sprinkling stardust all over these tracks.
We shouldn’t be surprised because the dazzling brilliance on show throughout Gemini Rights has been foreshadowed. As a key component of The Internet, his musical virtuosity was there for all to see, leading to collaborations with Vampire Weekend and Kendrick Lamar. His debut, Apollo XXI, promised much without completely convincing. With Gemini Rights, he has arrived. And how.
Lacy channels the influence of Stevie Wonder, Prince and Sly Stone on this collection, creating a sound that is as shiny as a brand new Bentley and just as extravagant. Fusing soul, R&B and perfect pop, it is polished, slick and oozing confidence.
Gemini Rights is an album of nine tracks, plus an Enterlude (not a spelling mistake), none of which is filler. From the opening piano ballad, Static (replete with scathing, barbed lyrics), through the groove of Helmet, the gorgeously melodic Buttons, the sashaying Sunshine (featuring the voice of Fousheé) and the classic soul of closer Give You The World, every single moment thrills.
There are two tunes to call out specifically. The first is Amber, which is highly reminiscent of Prince’s smooth-as-silk ballad, How Come U Don’t Call Me Any More. Then there’s Mercury. Arguably the track of the year, this is a song that will be swimming round your head for hours after hearing it. It is pointless trying to resist its salsa-influenced groove.
Gemini Rights is a stunner. It breezes into your life like the Santa Ana winds and leaves a lasting impression. It is unquestionably one of the albums of the year.