Eighteen months on from his five-time Grammy-nominated debut, American Teen, 20-year-old R’n’B singer Khalid returns with seven-track EP Suncity. It shows the star at his most comfortable and consistent, even if there aren’t any “wow” moments.
The string quartet of Vertigo has the same boldness as Coldplay’s Viva La Vida, but still has a lo-fi feel, with watery-sounding bass lines and guitars creating a gentle ambience. This allows Khalid’s voice to become the focus as he confesses: “I wish living life was easy/But mine has been a mess.”
The weighty piano chords of Better show hints of The Weeknd’s most recent EP, but much more understated, which pays off.
The muffled, sub-aquatic atmospheres are prevalent throughout (Salem’s Interlude is a particularly sensitive moment), until the record ends with the title track, a tropical pop song, mixed with detuned reggae chords.
Suncity may not scale the same heights as American Teen, but it’s a decent enough return to satisfy his fans, and enough to whet our appetites ahead of his Clockenflap performance.