Are U Down? demonstrates Spencer’s pop-inflected R&B and musical versatility
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  • Post published:09/09/2021
  • Post last modified:09/09/2021

One of the most telling moments comes in the form of the album’s closing track, “Drop”. Beginning with a casual murmured vocal, he sings “Had enough / girl I wanna call your bluff / you want the same trust / but you show me some fake love.” He only starts firing direct shots in the second verse: “You’ll come around / but you’re still fucking round, around”, his words harsher and more defined, backed by layered riffs.

Spencer. wants love but he can’t get out of his head – instead, portraying himself as an enigmatic code that’s eager to be cracked. “I’m not the type to take a bite and slow down / bet you will think you figured me out”, he warns on “byyyte”, the album’s opening track. An introduction to Spencer.’s anxieties and identity, he warns of the conflicting emotions that are battled with throughout Are U Down?, but remains vague enough to be all-encompassing.

The diversity of sounds on display is the thing that makes Spencer. so interesting as he toys with dilettantism. His vocal is often relaxed, sometimes lethargic; other times it ascends to a definable falsetto; like on “staywmecassette”, but his neo-soul tendencies are quickly offset. Elsewhere, “RocStar” shifts into a trippy, Thundercat-like instrumental and “No Direction” channels slacker indie-rock.

With Are U Down? priding itself on versatility, at times, Spencer. exposes himself as being undeveloped. Across 11 tracks he sets a high standard for himself, unfurling a sonic playground that’s simply temporary. Taken altogether, Spencer. comes out of the project still trying to figure himself out. Lovesick, woozy, and somewhat optimistic, Are U Down? demonstrates an inherent musicality and dextrous ability that is likely to become magical in due course.

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