Yutaro, Hollywood 07/15/2013
Everything is starting to sound like Sade these days, and I'm totally cool with that. Sometimes all you want out of life is a smooth and sultry slow jam that helps pass the day away and makes the night seem a little longer. Inc. are an LA based duo that have worked in the past as producers and songwriters with Robin Thicke, Raphael Saadiq, and Pharrell. Now they're ready to take their music into the spotlight and bring R&B to 4AD. They know how to hit the spot and touch you in all the right places. Just relax, let their music in, and they'll take it from there.
It’s tempting to put Inc. in the same boat as How to Dress Well’s lo-fi R&B and The XX’s delicate nighttime tunes, but on closer inspection, brothers Daniel and Andrew Aged are more interested in coming at the trendy indie R&B sound from different angles. Namely, they take inspiration from Missy Elliott and Timbaland’s alien hip-hop tracks from the ’90s, when they took Aaliyah to tripped-out heights. “Lifetime” whispers its sweet nothings over synthesizers that whir and buzz like tractor beams. “Black Wings’” cold new-wave riffs are spared an XX comparison given the song’s sharp beat cutting through like an icepick. Musically speaking, they deftly streamline decades of genres and influences into a believable whole — they’re sincere enough to pull it off. Songs like “5 Days” could sit softly in the background as makeout music, but its clever beat and production tricks also make it active listening. Their shyboy R&B has some ways to go, as some of it sits too still to make an impact, and interlude “Your Tears” mirrors too closely to Aaliyah’s “One in a Million.” When they pull out the stops for a song like the shimmering “Angel” or the precious “Seventeen,” Inc. end up with slow jams that could melt your heart.