The intersection of love and sex is the fount from which some of the best, most universally relatable and memorable R&B, funk and soul springs. Today, with 'Beauty & Essex', the lead single off its forthcoming debut album, The Free Nationals, with an assist from Canadian troubadour Daniel Caesar and indie-funk auteur Ruban Nielson, the brain powering Unknown Mortal Orchestra, showed just how lushly and exquisitely sensual things can get when you invoke those canons compellingly and sincerely.
The Free Nationals, famed for its stint as Anderson .Paak's backing band, doesn't see fit to reinvent the wheel. This is one of those times where heart-on-sleeve fidelity to tradition yields a climax that is sublime and spectacular.
There are ornate, filigreed textures, voluptuous swells of bass, quietly thumping percussion, quivering vocals affirming both the power of one's paramour ( "She brings me peace / We don't talk too much, but that's fine with me") and the unfathomable pleasure to be gleaned therefrom ("Oh, time smells like sex and flowers, we've been gone for hours").
For their parts, both Caesar and Nielson reprise their name-making charms. Caesar is the earnest, wide-eyed lover, brimming with an implacable urge to profess forevers and eternities, while Nielson alternates between being forlorn and insistent dashingly.
Listen to 'Beauty & Essex' below.