In Spring 2021, Sunni Colón released his single "Provide," a lush, beautiful love song that wore its influences on its sleeve yet still seemed fresh and new in an R&B landscape obsessed with "vibe." We were left to speculate what his upcoming EP would sound like based on its example. Now, nearly a year later, the singer-songwriter brings us his fully realized project JúJú & The Flowerbug to bask in.
As "Provide" suggested, Sunni is mining musical influences of the past (particularly '70s and '80s soul and funk — and even some bossa nova phrasing) for the EP. In doing so, he creates soundscapes that expand large enough to fit the encompassing love story told through the set's 10 tracks.
It starts off funky with in-the-pocket groove "UNIVERSE 4 TWO" sauntering into our ears with a sticky bass line and echo-y synths underscoring his pledge of devotion. The funk sticks around for a while, with the disco-fied "LESS IS MORE" and the sparsely arranged "RHYTHM TO YA LOVE" exploring a bit of '70s-era Brazilian funk.
The EP is great up to "Provide," but it seems to truly blossom with the song's beautiful musical arrangement. That's especially true of songs such as "Supernatural Woman," which takes on a Stevie Wonder-esque feel, and "JÚJÚ," which dives even further into shimmery disco vibes to marvelous effect. But don't count out "LADY LUCK" or "VERTIGO," both of which take different lanes as they riff on funk pastiches to enjoyable results, or the two interludes that help round out the project's overall sound and vision.
At 10 tracks, JúJú & The Flowerbug teeters between EP and album. Whichever you'd like to call the project, it's one of the strongest releases of the year thus far.
Sunni Colón JúJú & The Flowerbug [Amazon][Apple Music][TIDAL]