Anderson .Paak - 'Ventura'

7/10

When frontman Anderson .Paak released his highly-anticipated album 'Oxnard' in November last year, it was greeted as a procession of the singer's formative sound, moving more towards the glossy and energetic pop direction that he had shown in small doses previously. But as he returns a little more than six months later with his latest creation 'Ventura', we learned that 'Oxnard' was just one of two halves the artist was working on at that time. With 'Oxnard' acting as the party record, 'Ventura' brings him back to his signature roots of slow and meandering soul.

Featuring just as many high-profile guest artists as before, this time hosting Andre 3000, Brandy, Smokey Robinson, and even Nate Dogg adding a verse posthumously, this new collection feels much more in line with Anderson's comfort zone. Filled with subtle production and a confident presence running throughout, 'Ventura' sees him enjoying himself a lot more than what we felt when switching onto 'Oxnard' for the first time. Taking his original flair for laid-back and smooth RnB and injecting it with a contemporary angle, it feels far more like the original Anderson .Paak than his previous offering.

It may not have that instant appeal that 'Malibu' showcased, but is definitely following that record in a much closer vein. With a looser focus on production and the frontman clearly breathing this kind of music, it definitely feels like an improvement on 'Oxnard', and sees him moving back into his formative form.

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