Timothy Bloom - Timothy Bloom (2014)

Timothy Bloom
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Two years ago, Texas native Timothy Bloom – an unorthodox church-bred talent nursed on a musical diet encompassing Marvin, Prince, Jimi and The Beatles – exploded on the R&B radar with the Interscope-distributed EP, The Budding Rose. The lead single, “‘Til the End of Time,” along with its sexy NSFW concept video created the perfect pathway for the eclectic neo-soul-meets-rock singer-songwriter to enter into the hearts of soul aficionados hungry for more than what modern R&B radio offered. But, silence stepped in after his record deal went south. Now it seems as if Bloom, also a behind-the-scenes composer on tracks used on such artists as Ne-Yo, Chris Brown and Smokey Robinson, is venturing into the musical highways on his own as he drops his self-titled debut, one long overdue.

Two years ago, Texas native Timothy Bloom – an unorthodox church-bred talent nursed on a musical diet encompassing Marvin, Prince, Jimi and The Beatles – exploded on the R&B radar with the Interscope-distributed EP, The Budding Rose. The lead single, “‘Til the End of Time,” along with its sexy NSFW concept video created the perfect pathway for the eclectic neo-soul-meets-rock singer-songwriter to enter into the hearts of soul aficionados hungry for more than what modern R&B radio offered. But, silence stepped in after his record deal went south. Now it seems as if Bloom, also a behind-the-scenes composer on tracks used on such artists as Ne-Yo, Chris Brown and Smokey Robinson, is venturing into the musical highways on his own as he drops his self-titled debut, one long overdue.

Fleshing out his eccentricities in stereo on Timothy Bloom, the artist produces a peculiar mix of Maxwell-esque love provocations and Van Hunt-styled voyages that seem to overwhelm the duration of the disc. That means there’s an obvious absence of candy-coated hooks and radio-ready tracks. The closest you’re going to get to that would be “Stand in the Way (Of My Love),” which weaves stylish jazz piano riffs around chain gang sounds and a uplifting gospel-like chorus sung in unison. But, that doesn’t mean Timothy Bloom is unlikable. As he belts the intimate piano-heavy ballad “Underneath My Skin,” Bloom proves he’s steps ahead of Usher’s crooning. “Your Future” masquerades silky soul inside Mumford & Sons folk in a clever way that feels like the coolest fusion in 21st century genre-bending. Grungy guitar plunks and Southern-styled organ chords mesmerizes the minimalist load of “My Diamond” right before it enters a hazy, psychedelic finale doused with Marvin Gaye serenading. On “Rivers Run Deep,” Bloom goes into the heartlands of late-night lust, picking up where “‘Til the End of Time” left off. “You wake up with hunger in your eyes/Then you put your hand between my thighs,” he sings as if his art of foreplay came from the R. Kelly manual. But, the album’s real climax can be heard on the album’s closer, “For Love,” which gloriously revs up rock guitar bursts around a cascade of Paisley Park melodies.

Will modern R&B radio give him a chance? I’m not exactly sure. It took them awhile to warm up to Frank Ocean. Still with all the critical acclaim surrounding the evolution of contemporary R&B aboard channel ORANGE, Ocean’s career lies in uncertainty due to his failure to replicate the sonic palettes of his album on the largest of live stages (i.e., like his televised Grammys performance). Although his debut seems oddly contrived and otherworldly in places, Bloom seems like a worthy candidate in continuing where Ocean left off. Bloom’s swagger isn’t for everybody, but the artistic brushstroke made on this musical canvas proves thoroughly that his star is ready to shine. Recommended

By J. Matthew Cobb

 
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