BadBadNotGood are four friends from Canada who have been make progressive jazz. Building steam after their well-received third album and 2015 collaboration with Ghostface Killah, Sour Soul, the band’s latest album, IV, pushes their appeal further still.
The band originally started out making jazz covers of hip hop and electronic songs by the likes of MF Doom and James Blake. Now only a few years into writing and recording their own compositions, BBNG’s sound is becoming ever more distinctive.
There’s the foot-tapping chill of ‘Cashmere’, the spacey deflations of ‘Lavender’, produced with fellow Canadian, Kaytranada, the slow, romantic sway of sunset tune ‘Chompy’s Paradise’, and the tempo-blending smooth jazz of the title track. Each of the instrumental tracks has a depth that will keep you returning to the them.
However, it’s the group’s collaborations with vocalists that give the album an added flourish. Samuel T Herring of synth-pop group Future Islands is featured on ‘Time Moves Slow’, delivering delectable lamentations of lost love. Rapper Mick Jenkins hits you with muscly André 3000-type flow on the psychedelic ‘Hyssop of Love’. While Charlotte Day Wilson steals the whole thing with her stirring, soulful voice on the supremely tender ‘In Your Eyes’.
It has been an especially good year for jazz, with bold albums by Terrace Martin, Esperanza Spalding and newcomer Kandace Springs. BBNG’s latest joins these ranks with a record filled with verve and emotion.
IV is out now on Innovative Leisure.
Image: Connor Olthuis/Innovative Leisure