By: Daniel Arauz
Theophilus London: alternative Hip-Hop/R&B artist and Karl Lagerfeld co-signed fashion personality, presents the Parisian club life in an elegant electronic package. Vibes! is Theophilus’ second full-length album, produced by Kanye West, and the project’s smooth, and often beautiful electronic soundscapes will make Theophilus one to watch out for.
Theophilus expertly blurs genres, combining hip-hop style drum beats and high powered EDM synths while swinging from the moody and dramatic, to the catchy and club ready. Vibes! is very much the soundtrack to Theophilus’ fast times in European fashion circles, and he brings a similar kind of air of class and polish. The whole album would just fit perfectly in the designer outlets where you know you can’t afford anything, but go in anyways and then promptly leave when you find a plain white t-shirt on sale for two hundred dollars.
Polish is the emphasis here, and it’s easy to assume that Kanye’s co-production credit on the project had a hand in refining Theophilus’ sound. Tracks like “Water Me”, “Neu Law”, “Need Somebody” and “Tribe” speak to the catchiness of the album, but the best part about these songs is how they balance great hooks, with just the right amount of detail to keep repeat listens interesting. The two years it took to produce this album definitely show. Attentive ears will appreciate the dreamy piano arpeggios, subtle string strikes, and other assorted analog sounds. One of best singles of the album, and Yeezy’s only direct feature “Can’t Stop” could easily rival one of Kanye’s own classic singles. That being said, this is still a Theophilus project first, and it should not be mistaken as a traditional hip-hop album because of the Kanye production stamp.
Theophilus is a solid singer and he gets the job done, but his vocal or lyrical performance won’t be the main take-away from the project. The most interesting or scandalous thing he has to say may just be the lesbian-cheating story in “Do Girls”. Other than that, Vibes! gets as heavy as you can anticipate from a feel-good dance album, but if you find fault in that, you’re obviously looking in the wrong place.
There’s not a whole lot of flaws in the album. The length is just right, and though not every track is a stand-out, and more hard-hitting beats along the lines of “Tribes” would have been welcome, Vibes! is still an easy recommendation. Get together with some good friends, dress to kill, find the best spots in town and let Vibes! take over your evening playlist.