21 year old Steve Lacy has come through with his debut album Apollo XXI after years of contributions through his work with The Internet and his 2017 EP Steve Lacy’s Demo. Having been a fan of his music as well as The Internet over the years, I was looking forward to this album, and I was not disappointed in the slightest. Apollo XXI represents so much growth and maturity, both in terms of composition, arrangements and songwriting.
On tracks such as “Like me,” featuring DAISY, the synth-led groove and drumming gives the track a Neptunes vibe, with DAISY killing it on the vocals. I’m always skeptical of 9-minute tracks, but Steve’s instrumental work and hook keep the track engaging, as he changes tempo in the middle with gorgeous guitar leads and basslines that provide soul and a stellar groove. “Playground” is a cheerful cut, with guitar plucks and vocal harmonies that remind me what Prince did on albums like 1999 or Prince. Tracks like “Lay Me down” feature soulful R&B vibes with sweet and colourful guitar grooves that feel warm and beautiful. “Love 2 Fast” feels heavily Mac DeMarco inspired, both in terms of melody and sound. “N Side” features some heavy, funky basslines and passionate vocals, making it one of the other standouts on the album. “Outro Freestyle/4ever” is broken down into two parts, a trap-inspired melody and a gospel-like melody and energy near the end. The tracks throughout Apollo XXI flow beautifully into one another, and it feels like a passionate, raw body of work.
Steve Lacy really shines through on his debut album and it is clear how much talent and potential has going forward. Listen to Steve Lacy’s Apollo XXI below via Spotify, and make sure you support!