Starchild & the New Romantic may sound like an entire band, but it’s actually just one man, Bryndon Cook, a New York singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who bears his sole on his full-length studio debut, Language, available now from Ghostly International.
According to the 25-year-old R&B/soul musician’s bio, he defines his sound as “champion music for the heartbroken,” a feeling which permeates throughout the Maryland native’s album. The album opens with a spine-tingling performance of the title track, “Language,” an upbeat introduction with an almost Prince-like rhythm thanks to the sound of lo-fi ’80s electronics.
Cook delivers an emotionally gripping performance on the track, “Mood,” written and produced by Aaron Cooper Maine, easing listeners into his more electronic-heavy track “Only if you Knew,” which takes on a more alternative R&B persona with a texture similar to fellow New York singer-songwriter Autre Ne Veut.
“Hands Off” is a light-hearted romp with a classic doo-wop feel that’s certain to be a big hit with audiences as they clap along to the beat. The album abruptly changes its pace with “Hangin On,” a much more melodramatic rock tempo which sounds like it could pass as the Purple Rain equivalent of “Computer Blue.”
Starchild & the New Romantic come to life on the track “Black Diamond” a multi-layered dance-pop song that pulls listeners with its heavy instrumentation and a salsa-infused rhythm that falls somewhere between Sade‘s “Smooth Operator” and the ensemble sound of Gloria Estefan & the Miami Sound Machine.
“Ophelia’s Room” is perhaps one of the more skip-worthy tracks for its depressing melody and U2-esque ambiance which makes it feel like it will build up to something, but leaves you hanging. “Can I Come Over” is a contemporary R&B track with a lot funky guitar-led beat and a whole lot of spirit, which he follows with “Doubts,” an electronic-tinged track that will definitely turn a few heads.
“Boy’s Choir” is a rather predictably titled track featuring a choral ensemble, which he follows with “Lost Boys” another brilliant flashback to the ’80s on this Prince-like track inspired by the Stephen Spielberg film Hook (1991). The album closes with “Hand to God” a more psychedelic track that really just scratch the surface of the true depth of Cook’s talent.
Language is full of nostalgic throwbacks, soulful melodies, and contemporary gems that make it one album you truly don’t want to miss out on.