Reviewed: 26/06/2020

Rating: 7.5 // 10

Genres: Contemporary R&B

Released: 12/06/2020, Columbia

Chloe x Halle’s harmonies fill their sophomore effort, producing a solid offering of pop flavoured R&B that remains fresh despite its use of modern tropes.

Singers, songwriters, producers and actresses, sister duo Chloe and Halle are two severely talented individuals that combine so well as a team. Rarely on this album are the pair separated – but their luscious harmonisation never gets old as the album steers through topics that could be confusing if both sisters took turns with their own lyrics.

However, they effectively become one on this project, as we rarely hear that voice divided or tainted with. The layers of vocals on multiple tracks create a choir of their voices, but at no point does it seem to me that we have too much of the girls’ singing.

Their unified stance and approach to their songwriting creates a consistent point of view throughout lyrical content that is similarly linked cohesively – discussing the concepts of dating a love in a modern world.

The Intro track builds up nicely and flows well into the first proper track, Forgive Me, which takes that phrase and meaning and reinterprets it. Instead of being in the wrong, instead the lyrics are asking for their own ignorance and foolishness that allowed them to be wronged be forgotten.

That feeling of introspection is carried on into Baby Girl, a far more positive song. Again the harmonising vocals, and other layered vocals are so heavenly and encapsulating. Lyrically the content is aimed at all women in general, steering towards self-love and acceptance.

Do It incorporates modern trends that dominate the pop space at the moment, namely the hi-hats and snare driven beat that can be found every five minutes online and on the radio.

The trap-esque beat does make way for a far more “classic” and contemporary R&B feel around the choruses, and it does have a hint of 00’s R&B about it despite the more modern aspects of the song.

On Tipsy we have arguably the most alternative moment on the album, with subtle manipulations and style switch-up that creates this really interesting sound. Focused on being drunk on love and punishing a partner making mistakes in a very tongue in cheek way, this track definitely is my favourite and has stuck with me the most.

With the titular track Ungodly Hour you can instantly tell who the sisters collaborated with – the beat and feel of the track is lifted almost verbatim from Disclosure‘s back-catalogue.

That is in no means a bad thing, or a criticism – because the girls work very well with the defined sound. It has those Disclosure hallmarks – a very simple, yet effective, catchy beat, that at first does give off a strong 00’s vibe to me.

Busy Boy continues that simplicity, with an almost common bassline and kick drums, however I’m not really complaining because they offer a solid base for the song to build from.

We have a feature on Catch Up, as Swae Lee offers his vocals. It is the first and only time we hear the girls separate, but overall this song kinda just washed over me without leaving a proper impression.

That is a slight trend to the last leg of the album, with Lonely falling into the same trap. Overwhelmed is largely forgettable about from the harmonising vocals that aptly become overwhelming to the ear.

We are taken back to an old-school sound on Don’t Make It Harder On Me, an insightful track about a former potential suitor catching the eye after you’ve settled down with someone. The whole track features complimenting instruments, with a supple bassline, prominent drums and some lovely strings.

Overall this shows a cohesive and solid sound from the sisters, more than justifying their perceived roles as protégées of Beyonce, who spotted the girls at a young age and has had them tour with her twice.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this cemented them in the mainstream, and I can’t wait to hear what’s next for the pair.

Track Listing

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