Austin Paul-Believer (Video)

Austin’s excellent Velvet EP was a recent treat, and he’s now preparing Disparia for release. This first single shows a little switch in direction, as Paul slightly pulls away the smooth coating the previous EP came with, and substitutes in a harsher, sharper sound.

From the production side, that jagged quality comes from crisper percussion and a couple of piercing melodies, and though it’s all still rolled into a mellow sound, they offer a hint of contrast that adds vibrancy to proceedings. Vocally, the changes are more apparent-Austin moves away from the gentle, drifting style and into a higher pitch, allowing his work to come across with more intensity, and hence penetrating the soundscape more than a softer delivery might. It’s a good track that doesn’t stray too far from what he’s good at, but shows plenty of progress.

The clip is rather dark and minimal, covered in monochromatics that serve to enhance the moody, slightly uneasy production. The content of the video offers the same facets, featuring unusual activities and interactions with Austin and two others, and whilst it’s all a bit creepy, it fits the audio well. Look out for the EP on 18th July.

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Austin Paul-Velvet EP

A huge talent emerging here, and one that could rapidly become a crowd favourite in the starved R&B scene. Coming from the same mould as the equally-gifted Steven A. Clark, Austin’s a talented vocalist with a penchant for smooth, atmospheric music that lands somewhere between neo-soul, modern-day R&B and electronic chillout, an ever-effective and hugely replayable mix.

Austin’s 5-track EP is a great introduction to the young singer’s work, from the futuristic, night pop aura of Felt It (Velvet) through to the softer, more introspective stylings of Loving Losing, and it’s clear within just a few listens that he’s got plenty of variety to his act. That’s all pinned together by an overarching mellow quality, one which relies more on darker moods and atmosphere than traditionally associated with laidback R&B, and hence it feels like a modern take on the neo-soul style, without sacrificing the inherent chillout and melodic nature of that genre. Notable too is the maturity of his voice, which certainly belies his tender years, and whilst it will draw comparisons with the likes of Miguel, John Legend and such, there’s a distinctness about it that should stand him in good stead going forward.

Stream the EP here, and download the tracks individually at his Soundcloud. Frankly, you’d be foolish not to give this a go: the likes of Austin and Steven are the future of R&B as far as I’m concerned, and you’d be well-advised to jump on this bandwagon early.

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