October 22nd, 2015 | Album reviews

Zackey Force Funk
Chrome Steel Tiger
Hit + Run

(available Nov. 2 from Hit + Run, and record release show Oct. 27 at the Echo!)

Zackey Force Funk’s got a light touch when it comes to his vocals, whether he’s layered them into a spindly lattice of syncopation or left them naked in the spotlight, allowing the listener to feel every sensual articulation. He whispers directly into your ear, floating over musical metaphors concocted by an arsenal of the inspired producers on Chrome Steel Tiger. “Hearts on Fire” is an instant burner, as producers XL Middleton and Eddy Funkster summon the infectious momentum of a cosmic roller disco. The Egyptian Lover/Brian Ellis-produced “On The 1” throbs to a climax while an insistent cowbell (and a panting Egyptian Lover) play off Zackey’s narrations. Tom Noble sets a futuristic, seductive scene in some luxuriously unlimited love den on the synth-y “Lover Lane,” and Zackey slips right into the spotlight. Although the classic Minneapolis sound is recognizable throughout CST, the album veers into Gainsbourg territory, flirts with crackly sample-era hip-hop textures and sends the listener away on a pink satin cloud of samples and a promise for peace. Chrome Steel Tiger is a perfect reminder that you don’t have to hit it too hard to hit it right.

—Christina Gubala