There’s been plenty of downcast RnB doing the rounds lately, but Inc.’s No World, released last month on 4AD, sits somewhere near the top of the pile. While others may explore darker themes (The Weeknd) or frame their ideas with more daring arrangements (How To Dress Well), it’s difficult to fault the sophistication of Andrew and Daniel Aged’s creations. Contemporary rap is clearly a touchstone, but so is sensuous Quiet Storm balladry, 90s and early noughties RnB, and the breathy eroticism of Prince at his most tender.
Perhaps this depth of knowledge ought to come as no surprise, given the lengthy CVs of Inc.‘s two members. The Aged brothers have worked as session musicians for the likes of Pharrell and 50 Cent, and it shows in the effortless precision of these tracks. But slickness, fortunately, doesn’t equate to soullessness. Andrew’s whispery croon ought to be dissatisfying but it’s coloured with the slightest shadow of expressive urgency, while Daniel’s succinct arrangements are frequently subtler than they first appear. It’s a sound that translates well into a live setting, as evidenced in this performance of album highlight ‘Black Wings’, filmed by Yours Truly. A twin-drummer setup lends the track a newfound dynamism, but this is still, at its core, music for lovers.
Inc.’s No World is out now on 4AD.