Caryatid EP – Cravism X Maya Diegel (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Even if you are already having a good day, new music from Cravism X Maya Diegel is guaranteed to make it a better one. I’m not really sure what neo-soul means as a generic title, surely soul just naturally evolves and whatever it is doing at any given time is simply soul music, but I suspect that the term applies to this duo perhaps more than most flying that flag. Their music is fresh yet slightly familiar, gorgeously infectious and sonically comforting, new and soulful…hence neo-soul, I suppose.

Those who have been paying attention will know what to expect, many of the tracks from this compact and bijou release have already been teasing audiences for a while now but to find everything all in one place reminds us just how deft and adept Cravism X Maya Diegel are at weaving their sweet, sultry and sonically understated music.

Hard Shoes kicks things off perfectly…there is probably a joke in there about kicking your shoes off but it will take a better man than me to find it. Lilting and lovely, the vocals bounce across some gentle Rhodes piano, which ebbs and flows, is chiming and charming, before everything moves up a gear.

Then we hit familiar territory and a run of songs that have been tantalising listeners for a while now. It’s Okay is built on equal amounts of groove and grace, the title track balances soulfulness and sass and Ladies Night sounds like a night full of soul, opportunity, magic and adventure turned into the most gossamer sounds.

The EP ends on a lovely high note, Change Your Mind is a slice of supple and subtle R&B vibes, shot through with deliate electronic shards, pulsing bass lines and meandering rhythms.

As I said earlier, with their individual tracks, Cravism X Maya Diegel has been teasing and testing us for months now, but taken in isolation those tracks felt just like excerpts from a up coming novel or trailers for a film yet to be released. It is not until you are given all of these songs in one place, are able to follow a sonic journey through the soundscape that they have built around themselves, that you fully appreciate just how ahead of the curve, soul or otherwise, they really are.

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