Pitchfork (Website) - "Singer/songwriter Gallant's weightless voice channels '80s and '90s R&B, channeling the feeling of those eras without taking too much from them."
Stray tracks and an EP of murky art-pop and R&B were self-released by Christopher Gallant during 2013 and 2014. The material invited comparisons to Maxwell, Frank Ocean, Miguel, and, all right, the Weeknd -- vocalists unafraid of examining emotional damage and desire in falsetto. It also suggested that Gallant had something unique to add to R&B outside the constrictions of commercial airwaves. After he fell in with the independent operation Mind of a Genius, and then a partnership with major label Warner Bros., Gallant's sound started to become more defined, easier to grasp, yet still beyond the periphery of the urban contemporary radio format. At the same time, he went about finding nonstandard and borderline impenetrable ways of detailing inner crises and standard romantic pitfalls. "Weight in Gold," a bursting modern soul ballad issued in 2015, received a major boost from high-profile disc jockey Zane Lowe, but that support didn't translate into crossover status. That's likely the closest Ology, the song's parent album, will get to the mainstream. A debut full-length refreshingly bold enough to contain one guest appearance from a singer instead of several from rappers, it features only Jhené Aiko, who appears over some of Adrian Younge's psychedelic soul. That song is in a dimension separate from that of, say, Top 15 pop hit "Post to Be," with Gallant and Aiko aching about "skipping stones in washed up brooks." The verses in the relatively current-sounding tracks, most of which are produced by Ajay Bhattacharyya (aka Stint), indicate that Gallant labors over writing metaphors that are often as baffling as they are vivid. In the faith-questioning "Bourbon," a synth-funk slow jam, he compares himself to a headless horseman who somehow has not lost the ability to pray. "House of cards" might have been an early phrase in his mind as he started to write the levitating "Counting," the first line of which is "We built a glass monastery over the fault lines." Tuning out the lyrics isn't necessarily critical to the enjoyment of Ology, not when those words are expressed with comparatively effortless and winning hooks, punctuated by howls that slay. ~ Andy Kellman