Che ecru- buries
The mysterious Che Ecru has released his first official album available on most major platforms. Though he has the sound that one would associate with Toronto’s OVO brand, this Boston native has a distinct sound carrying elements from several current R&B artists. Although still in the beginning stages of his career, Che Ecru’s solo album Buries was created with the help of a small Los Angeles indie label, Soulection “...placing value on community, discovery, transparency, DIY growth and the artistry of music” (Soulection.com). Soulection supports underground artists who aim to bend genres focusing on hip hop and R&B styles while distilling them through electronic and house production, and Buries is exactly that (with specific examples to follow).
To start, musically, this debut album introduces Che Ecru as a blend of much of contemporary R&B today. With a voice very similar (and general sound) to The Weeknd, a singing style similar to that of Justin Bieber, lyrics directed towards a significant other similar to artists like Trey Songz and Chris Brown, singing over slow variations of trap/R&B beats like Bryson Tiller, and the general tropic vibe that PartyNextDoor radiates throughout his music, Che Ecru encapsulates everything that the R&B industry has been successfully releasing in the last few years. His sound, though distinct enough to the point that he could be somewhat recognizable, is a mix of what this industry has already seen, and unfortunately, he may be at a disadvantage given that he still has ways to go as far as building and maintaining a recognizable image. Such a blend of sounds also makes it hard to differentiate the songs from each other making the tracks not very memorable. Furthermore, no track from this album screams “hit” which is essential for unknown artists trying to make a name for themselves. However, to his advantage, the similar qualities that he has to several larger scale and developed artists will result in a listener’s comfort due to familiarity. Though these tracks probably won’t be everyone’s top choice, some can be quite nice additions to R&B-filled playlists. Specifically, if one were to compare every song on the album with particular artists, the pairings would go something like this.
“Lonely”, “2 Am” and “Berries”- Clear vocals and similar tone of The Weeknd
“Body” and “Fall”- Similar singing style of Justin Bieber and singing over trap beats like Bryson Tiller
“Luckily”- Syncopated and varying beats similar to PartyNextDoor
“Play”- Direct lyrics to a significant other similar to the lyric styles of Trey Songz and Chris Brown
“You”- Tropical vibe (particularly with the use of steel drums) like PartyNextDoor
If Che Ecru plans to make it big, it is crucial that he finds his own individual sound. Sure, it’s okay to take inspiration from other artists, but when almost every element of his music can be associated with another artist (especially artists who are still currently at the top of the charts) it’s hard to be convinced that he is going to be a “hot new artist” because to be honest, this album really only contextualizes the phrase “reduce, reuse, recycle”.