After Joyce Wrice declares, “Let's talk about all of the things that women gotta endure just to get some love” on “Chandler,” she spends the next 40 minutes of her debut album making good on her word. Overgrown finds the singer dealing in matters of the heart with an eye on both the past and the future. She has a clear grasp on R&B styles of old—and her gorgeous voice, clean and brimming with soul, lends itself well to that—but she isn't completely given to nostalgia. There's something modern about the way she slides between sounds and genres. And lyrically, she is very much a product of the time. Her confessionals are plagued by the characteristic indecision and on-again, off-again tension of a generation who gave the world terms like “situationship” and “bread-crumbing.” The desire for love and companionship is palpable, as is her desire to not get hurt by someone who doesn't know her worth. The features that make up Overgrown (which was executive produced by D'Mile) complement Wrice's style while also expanding it. Next to rapper Freddie Gibbs on the hip-hop-inflected “On One” or singer-instrumentalist Masego on the jazzy “Must Be Nice,” she navigates sonic spaces that are more suited to her collaborators but which she no less bends to her will. The “That's on You” remix, which features the singer UMI, spotlights her Japanese heritage to become a standout. On solo tracks—namely the simmering stunner “Addicted” and the piano ballad “Overgrown”—she showcases the best of her voice, letting it soar over production that allows her the space to shine. This collection was three years in the making, and it's evident Wrice tended to it with love and patience; with a veteran's poise and a newcomer's inquisitiveness, Overgrown serves as an arrival and as notice.

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