As Above So Below (Deluxe Edition)
Wary of getting pegged as an acoustic soul man in the mold of Bill Withers, Anthony David decided to renovate his sonic palate for 2011’s As Above So Below. Though there are touches of his more modest styling on the beautiful “Backstreet” and the lowrider-style “Getaround,” the rest of the album features bouncier beats and more exotic backdrops. David's clearly a product of the hip-hop generation, and his velvety singing feels right at home on rap-oriented tracks like “Let Me In” and “Body Language.” With its hushed disco rhythms and layered vocals, “Girlfriend” isn't to be missed. Nor is “Keep You Around,” an airy nod to Jamaican lovers rock. The best songs, though, bring together all of David’s musical inclinations. At a time when Lauryn Hill remains MIA, David's “4evermore” and “Reach Ya” revive some of the homestyle atmosphere that made Hill's Miseducation album so special. David even attempts a modernized soul take on Tears for Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.” For all his stylistic maneuvering, the album remains anchored in the sound of David’s voice: a warm, lived-in instrument that's never overplayed or feigned.