Released: 8th April 2022
Pining falsettos, heated funk, a vulnerable kind of seduction: all hallmarks of an Omar Apollo release.
On 2020’s ‘Apolonio’, there was a sense that there was still a lot of growth to be done for the Mexican-American artist. While that growth is perhaps still not complete, on latest release ‘IVORY’, Omar seems to have settled into his artistry more than ever before. That eclecticism he’s oft known for has come onto newly certain ground – yes, he zigs and zags through a myriad of moods and genres, but there’s a stability to ‘IVORY’ that perhaps was lacking before.
‘No good reason’ bursts into life with bubbling, fun production and shiver-inducing vocals. Yet, elsewhere, there’s those lo-fi ventures that Omar was initially known for – particularly on the interludes. ‘Killing Me’ is an alluring, lustful height of the album, practically simmering with desire. Although all of those moments do well to showcase the transfiguring skill in Omar’s arsenal, the instances of complete, unguarded emotion are the album’s strongest. ‘Personally’ is Omar laid bare – the guttural, cracked pain is audible in every run. There’s an abundance of yearning that invites the listener into the core of Omar’s being. That distinctly nostalgia, bittersweetly romantic tone is the key to unlocking his true power.
A bilingual exhibit of soulful, shape-shifting musings, Omar Apollo manages to weave everything from his heritage to loneliness, sex, love and toxicity. It’s a mammoth effort, and one that bridges the gap between his earlier releases and who he is now. It’s a world in itself: billowing shirts, candle-lit rooms, careful contemplation in the midnight hour, the strain of trying to discover who you are. Unpredictable and deeply transformative, ‘IVORY’ is poised statement from someone possessing absolute multitudes, and extending them out with every track.