As you might expect from a project by Fantastic Mr Marcel, the beats are rich and rewarding, while he has a voice like honey blended with liquid smoke, one of the great croons of modern times, and he’s equally comfortable singing or spitting bars. Following on the heels of his previous project, “Tiger In The Room” comes his latest stunning album release, “Tiger In The Room: Blue Suit”. He’s witty and endearing, with one of the most iconic voices in alternative soul, pop, or hip-hop, today. He’s capable, on any given song, of sounding like the greatest rapper or singer in the world. On this latest release, it’s his soulful singing voice that comes to the fore.
From the opening track, “Give Me Your Love”, the on-point production palette allows Fantastic Mr Marcel to explore the alternative soul associated with his deeply emotional style. The track glosses over warm driving instrumental, and plants the bar distractingly high, yet the singer still demonstrates his effortless creative bliss as well as his versatile vocal cords.
The second track, “Chemical Bonds”, heralds something quite different – a performative spectacle which, sounds like it’s setting the song up to be Fantastic Mr Marcel’s equivalent of widescreen, cinematic drama. It is a perfect illustration of the artist’s dynamic disposition together with his unique approach to making music.
“Eye on the Dollar” features a muted electronic tone that thumps like a rapidly pulsating heartbeat, as the backbone of the rhythm. As usual, Fantastic Mr Marcel’s mix of poetic lyricism and a mellifluous croon that can play in and out of any rhythm, makes for a listen that takes you higher.
But this new album collects some of Fantastic Mr Marcel’s strongest vocal performances, while bringing so many great songs behind his voice that you’ll be finding something new on every listen. Case in point, “Silk & Thunder” ft. Gary Kazazian, a poignant ballad which can only be described as sublimely extraordinary.
The aforementioned song is a tour de force of finely tuned restraint, where less equals more, as Fantastic Mr Marcel creates the gentle tones and timbres for you to get totally lost within. That profoundly thoughtful approach, is beautifully replicated on “Beautiful World”.
The initial relaxing tones are able to let its more flustered reflections feel pensive and addictive as the song builds in intensity, eventually unleashing its powerful message of self-discovery. With the punchy arrangement of “Fucking with a God”, Fantastic Mr Marcel goes all out in his delivery to have you hanging on his every word.
The singer drives the song through its much darker and dramatic bridge, and is seamlessly able to evolve his performance over whatever the track demands. Whether Fantastic Mr Marcel is being impenetrable or vulnerable, his songwriting speaks to the humanity in us all.
Putting Fantastic Mr Marcel in a box — even one as elastic as “soul pop hip-hop alternative” – does a disservice to his breadth. He leaps from style to style with abandon, and he’ll make those leaps within a single song if you give him enough room.
In addition, “Tiger In The Room: Blue Suit” shows that there is a new direction that his particular style of alternative urban music can go towards, and it sounds damn good when Fantastic Mr Marcel takes it there.