Pitchfork (Website) - "ELDORADO is reminiscent of Frank Ocean's THE LONNY BREAUX COLLECTION: a hit-or-miss early set of songs that showed a faint blueprint of who the artist would eventually become."
Recording information: Cashonlee Studios, Brooklyn, NYC; G-Spot West Studios, Los angeles, CA; Hannah Eight Studios, Los Angeles, CA; Happy's Studio, Houston, TX; Platinum Sound Recording Studios, NYC; Salmhouse Sherman Oaks, CA; Slamhouse, Sherman Oaks, CA; Sugar Hill Studios, Houston, TX; Tailored 4U Music, North Hollywood, CA; UMPG Studio, Los Angeles, CA.
Photographer: Sarah McColgan.
Ro James is unique in that he was among the few R&B artists to release a major-label debut album during the first half of 2016. Even if his peers had amounted to far more than BJ the Chicago Kid, Gallant, Drake associates, and Drake knock-offs, he would have stood out in his field. Like BJ, James sounds like an adult, not an adolescent, who came up in the church and is equipped with a judiciously utilized falsetto. The two singers likewise come across as easy-to-like gentlemen with bad-boy streaks. Apart from a subtle Willie Hutch sample, however, there are no retro-soul moves on El Dorado, an album that is predominantly sleek and synthesized, wholly contemporary. Refreshingly, there are no guest vocalists or rappers, leaving the spotlight to focus squarely on James, whose levels of confidence and charm are high enough to withstand woman-as-vehicle metaphors and a litany of de rigueur weed and alcohol references. In "Permission," he provides an antidote to the abundance of self-entitled slow jams permeating airwaves, preceding the smoothly delivered "Come on, gimme that green light" with "With your permission" and further expressing respect for his partner with "...only if it feels right." This is an encouraging debut that hints at increasingly distinctive works ahead. ~ Andy Kellman