A Look in The Local Bin: Deaton Chris Anthony

Deaton Chris Anthony seems to be remaking RnB. His silky voice bounces over spacey instrumentals to create the aural equivalent of lounging on bear skin rug in front of a fireplace. Simultaneously ironic and vulnerable, the artist constantly negotiates the balance between the personal and the persona. Every track on BB, his latest cassette, bends the genre considerations of classic 90s RnB to fit the contours of a post-Twitter world.

The tape starts with staged sobs and reverb-heavy synth lines before the singer unspools his soaring melodies. In “Do What You Gon’ Do” (much like in the rest of the album), Deaton Chris Anthony is able to wrap his words around some sultry melodies. This ability helps the artist turn even the most self-aware lyrics into powerful moments of love lost, of longing, of regret. Layering harmonies over harmonies, “Do What You Gon’ Do” kicks BB off well with its mix of post-modern RnB.

Whether the lyrics are painful and serious or painfully self-aware, Deaton Chris Anthony delivers them with such skill and poise that they can win over even the most stalwart proponent of new sincerity. Landing somewhere between Blood Orange, Frank Ocean, and Father John Misty, the artist has collaged his material to make a conceptual album that doesn’t forget to have fun.

And one of the songs of the album that has the most fun is “B Bae B.” The track has a round bass backbone that keeps things dancey as stadium cheers creep just under the mix’s surface. Deaton Chris Anthony ditches his fallback singing mode for spitfire melodies. “B Bae B” is mired in the post-disco / pre-rap (as we know it today) sound of the late 70s and early 80s (think Sugarhill Gang or Newcleus). Whenever the song lands, its beats keep things fast and light–the perfect burner for the dance floor.

BB ends on a far glitchier note than how it began. After “B Bae B,” Deaton Chris Anthony takes a dramatic swerve into more unconventional RnB sounds. That said, the volta feels right–and on an album that’s seemingly governed by intuition, moves that feel right all are that matter. The turn to more experimental sounds marks the beginning of the close, so to speak.

Ending on an expanding anthem, “Big Wet,” concludes the album proper. Its patches create a lush soundscape for its synthetic saxophones and jittering percussion. Sounding like a Barry White and Clarence Clarity collab, “Big Wet” is traditional enough for RnB aficionados and weird enough for the experimental crowd. The song acts as a culmination of the entire album–not a bad way to end BB.

Whether you’re into the neo RnB of Blood Orange and the latest Frank Ocean or ironic self-awareness of Father John Misty, Chris Deaton Anthony has something for you in his cassette BB. Snaking through its melodies, BB is a fun romp through vicarious longing–something only available in the best examples of persona-driven performance art.


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