We first got hip to the existence of Silk Sonic way back in March, when the duo of Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak released the undeniable earworm “Leave The Door Open” and had the whole world anticipating their modern take on ’70s soul. More than eight months — and two singles — later, An Evening With Silk Sonic is finally here and ready to jam. But is the set worth the wait?
Well, that depends. The set is remarkably short, clocking in at just over 30 minutes. A set so short will definitely have some feeling a bit shortchanged. However, it’s all about quality and not quantity, and the duo delivers that in spades.
Funk legend Bootsy Collins acts as an MC of sorts, introducing us to the group on the opening “Silk Sonic Intro” before taking a less involved role on a handful of the set’s nine tracks. His influence is still felt, though, as the fellas don’t just explore the smoothness of the era’s sound. The first dose of funk, “Fly As Me,” is stacked with tight arrangements that recall The Bar-Kays, Parliament and a few others while incorporating Anderson’s fly rhyme skills as he and Bruno advertise just how fly they are (and why a lady would be lucky to have them). They more directly channel Bootsy on “After Last Night,” which also features an assist from Thundercat on bass. It sounds like a mashup of “Rather Be With You” and “Munchies For Your Love” that’s covered in Bruno’s pop sheen as the two wax poetic about falling in love after a one-night stand. “777,” meanwhile, gets a bit more raw as it mashes ’70s funk with current era hip-hop (garnering the only explicit label on the set thanks to Anderson’s raps and a few excited expletives from Mr. Mars).
The rest of An Evening With Silk Sonic lives up to the group’s name, as singles like “Skate” and “Smokin Out The Window” revisit the mid-’70s soul sound. They make it even smoother, though, by adding Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds to the songwriting roster (which consists mainly of Mars, .Paak and the in-demand D’Mile) for the heartbroken “Put On A Smile.” Then they take things a bit dreamy and psychedelic for closer “Blast Off.” The silky groove floats among the clouds as they sing of getting high on love and going to a magical place.
An Evening With Silk Sonic will definitely leave you wanting more. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In an age where albums are overstuffed with filler in a cynical attempt to break streaming records, it’s nice to get a tight, focused effort that delivers on the promise of its lead single. If the fellas decide to treat us to another evening in the future, though, we do hope that they stay just a little bit longer.