Rejjie Snow Dear Annie 300 Entertainment / Brace Face
If you’ve been waiting, ever since Nick Hakim’s stunning Green Twins dropped in the first half of 2017, for a soul album that feels radiant, that feels both retro-minded and forward-looking, that feels free, then wait no longer – Dublin-born rapper Rejjie Snow’s debut LP Dear Annie is all that and more.
Flowing between funk, jazz, soul, RnB and hip-hop, the keyword throughout Dear Annie is fluidity – not only in the sumptuous oceanic grooves that underpin the tracks but also in Snow’s sense of identity. There is no ugly Frankenstein-style forced ‘eclecticism’ here – rather everything seems to emanate naturally from Snow’s varied musical consciousness. For such a dazzling record there’s no showing off – he can croon and rhyme without showboating (check the sublime openers Hello and Rainbows), mix both plaintive balladry with fierce agit-pop polemic (23 and the gorgeous Pink Lemonade), and create quiet-storm euro-tinged 80s pop (Mon Amour and Spaceships) and gritty Adrian Younge-style chamber-pop (the astonishing Oh No and The Ends) with equal deftness and ease.
Crucially, for an album by a 23-year-old Dear Annie comes across with no point to prove, no egotist grandstanding – throughout there’s no sense of distance between you and Snow, rather it feels like he’s holding your hand, taking you both externally down his streets and his world, and internally through the tangled tendrils of his own psyche. You remain a willing passenger because the sounds Snow couches his visions in are just so damn addictive. One of the most delicious debuts of the year so far.