Papa Roy Foundation are one of the most interesting underground acts to come out in recent years. Their first full length record “Out of the Darkness” is a terrific one, a clear sign to other artists in the industry that taking your time with producing is often a far superior take, compared to churning out release after release. That’s not to say the group haven’t been dropping stuff regularly, because they certainly have been making an impressive impact with their single releases over the last year. It’s just that they’re all well thought-out and aimed at the widest range of ears they can set their sounds on.
In a time where a smile is so hard to come by and quality music is often undervalued, this album had me beaming throughout. Papa Roy Foundation are an unmatched collective, who’s sonic and stylistic possibilities appear limitless. The album is a real musical jam, with some wonderful features of lyricism, often so missing from dance and pop music.
“Out of the Darkness” provides listeners with a selection of tracks filled with distinctive sub-genres of dance, pop and rap music. It is especially captivating due to the vocal features listeners find throughout the album. Each combining with the music to produce a series of scintillating tracks which are hard not to fall in love with. At its core, Papa Roy Foundation is made up of: Rouge (Vocals), Papa Roy (Keyboards and programming), Mark Lawson (Bass and guitar), and Skxlly (Vocals).
Also on the album, you’ll find the crooning skills of Guy Garrett who features on the highly intoxicating pop anthem, “What Were You Thinking”. Wrapped up in an apotheosis of melody and harmony, and driven by a consistent rhythm, the track builds into lusciously inspiring choruses, and emotion-filled verses. Easy on the ear, and soothing to the soul, the song is a typical example, of the ear-catching brilliance Papa Roy Foundation is capable of producing.
Joined by guest musicians on the album, who have worked with the likes of P!nk and Ellie Golding, a plethora of organic sounds abound, allowing Papa Roy Foundation’s songs to resonate with real tonal and textural warmth. Real drums, guitars, trumpets, trombones, flutes and saxophones carefully make their appearance where necessary, adding an extra layer of authenticity to the proceedings. A powerful beacon of light in the current music scene Papa Roy Foundation’s songs have a timeless feel.
Listen to the richly exquisite production on “Arabian Nights”, coupled with Rouge’s mellifluous and crystalline vocals and Skxlly’s urgent raps, to realize that the song could thrive in any era. And without taking anything away from Papa Roy’s foundational importance to the band, it has to be said that Rouge’s voice is a major focal point across this album. Her delicious phrasing on the upbeat “Can’t Stay Her” is really hard to resist. And Skxlly’s again adds an urban flavor to the track with his rapping, while Papa Roy’s musical mix is exhilarating to say the least. He never misses a beat.
Continually refining and expanding their penchant for crafting euphoric, emotive music that embraces substance over artifice, Papa Roy Foundation’s stand as a stark and far more satisfying contrast to the more stoic, superficial strains of dance and pop music. They reach their apex on the shimmering bounce of “Say”, where the marvelous Rouge once again dominates alongside Papa Roy’s dynamic production. It is a shining embodiment of how dance music can be crafted with grace and soul.
All throughout the album, Papa Roy Foundation offer a healthy dose of musical escapism to soothe our weary souls and transport us away from the myriad of daily anxieties. They expertly craft dance and pop music with a heart, soul, and conscience, primarily thanks to the binary dynamism of Papa Roy’s cerebral songwriting and production, coupled with Rouge and Skxlly vocal distinctiveness, as well as Mark Lawson’s masterful musicianship. And there is still an abundance to be found on the remaining tracks: “One More Night”, “Cry Like A Wolf”, “Sedated”, “Win Your Love”, and “Just Chilling”.
Intelligent production, earworm compositions and finely tuned vocal performances are the keys to Papa Roy Foundation’s splendid sonic tapestry.