Just over two years after the release of his gold-certified debut album, ‘Coming Home’, Leon Bridges has delivered another trove of R&B delights, quite appropriately titled ‘Good Thing’.
‘Bet Ain’t Worth the Hand’ leads the LP to a somber start. String arpeggios and ethereal chimes create a dream-state made lucid by the arrival of Bridge’s familiar but oddly disparate tone; vocals are treated slightly less than on ‘Coming Home’, allowing us become more intimate with Bridges voice as he mourns for a doomed romance.
The next track, ‘Bad Bad News’, offers contrast; a jogging-pace bass-line serves as a groovy foundation for sensuous guitar licks and Bridges melodic vocals, this time subtly more coloured and with bouts spacious double tracking reminiscent of Anderson Paak. Bridges exhibits his growing sense of selfhood and independence if not with his lyrics, then with his musicality, which separates itself from the Motown umbrella which cast a slight shadow over his previous album.
‘Good Thing’ offers several examples of Bridges’ evolving stylistic dynamism and songwriting ability. On ‘Beyond’, panning percussion and acoustic guitars paint a bucolic soundscape and the setting of a feel-good foot-stomper of a folk song, only to be succeed in the next track, ‘Forgive You’, by drum machines and the distant slides of an electric guitar. ‘Lions’, characterised by a previously unexhibited lyrical rhythmicity, precedes two of the albums most danceable jams, ‘If It Feels Good (Then It Must Be)’ and ‘You Don’t Know’, which sounds like a brainchild of Penguin Prison and St. Lucia.
The album begins to wind down with the penultimate track, ‘MRS,’ a plodding ballad driven by a guitar motif that brings Alabama Shakes to mind. The final track, ‘Georgia to Texas’, is an autobiography administered with a tone of brooding nostalgia, making for a thoughtful bookend that mirrors the first track.
Overall, Leon Bridges has delivered an album that is stands tall next to ‘Coming Home’, and one that will surely be cited as a definitive point in his evolution as an artist.