Chicago-based R&B singer-songwriter Lauren Dukes releases her self-titled debut EP, a collection of blues, soul, jazz, and R&B underscored by Faith.
Dukes explains her writing process, “Much of what I write starts off by asking (God, the universe, then myself) ‘What is the message You want me to deliver? Then, I ask, ‘What do I want to express?’”
With her band, made up of Nic Byrd (guitar), Andy Sutton (drums and producer), Ola Timothy (bass), Kris Lohn (bass), Moses Hall (keys), Latavius Mulvac (keys), Aiden Dehn (sax), Shawn Maxwell (sax), Shaun Martin of Snarky Puppy (keys), Marques Carroll (trumpet), Kirk Garrison (trumpet), and Nicole Garza (background vocals), Dukes offers delicious music.
Encompassing five tracks, the EP begins with “Closure,” opening on a fat bassline, followed by the vibrant, galvanizing voice of Lauren. Braying brass imbues the song with lush colors, while the potent rhythm gives the beat seductive cadence.
Talking about “Closure,” Dukes says, “It’s something we all want. But it’s rare to get it…closure.”
“L-Boogie” travels on wah-wah harmonies topping a skiffing guitar, and then rolls into a funky blues melody flavored by Lauren’s luscious, sultry vocals. Whereas “Addicted” rolls out on creamy undulations of R&B textures as Lauren’s smooth, evocative tones infuse the lyrics with longing savors. A sensuous sax gives the tune erotic accents.
“Flawed Perfection” features funky rhythmic pulses capped by sleazy, skiffing surfaces, thrumming with wild, stuttering energy. Gleaming keyboards and a drawling organ imbue the harmonics with velvety psychedelic hints, adding to the song’s sonic allure. Glowing harmonies give the lyrics depth and dimension, as well as voluptuous timbres.
“Hectic Love Week” rolls out on a popping bassline, braying organ, and crisp side-stick percussion. As the melody takes over, the tune surges with delicious layers of R&B blended with tasty funk. Lauren struts her exquisite vocals on this track, parading her phrasing and range.
At once tantalizing and rippling with harmonic muscle, Lauren Dukes surfaces with a grand EP, exhibiting her luxurious voice and polished songwriting.