Published Aug 09, 2019Toronto collective HMLT — pronounced "Hamlet" — have been on their slow, steady grind for a few years now. The group — fronted by brother producer-vocalist duo Corey and Taylor Wong — arrived at their name in honour of their late father, and the rhythmic teachings and mindset he bestowed upon them.
Their sound is one of organic electronics rooted in jazz, R&B and pop; Need You is an eight-track project that builds off the singles and artist collaboration and production HMLT have been behind over the years. It's a solidly created and composed blend of instrumentation and sonics featuring emerging artists Joyia, Kei-Li, M.I. Blue and Desiire.
The vibe is jazzy, soulful and intimate love and longing: "Down Down Down," featuring M.I. Blue, comports itself with a silky, smoky sass; Joyia holds down the breathy afterglow of "Bedroom"; and "Aware" is a chill instrumental underscored with its classic soul sounds by way of saxophone. The standout is "Stay," which sees the group firmly in their live jazz-soul pocket, speaking of a complex but necessary love through the vocals of Kei-li and Joyia.
The overall proceedings, as produced by Corey Wong, reveal a controlled yet freewheeling energy, one that revolves around a love of soul-oriented sounds and lyricism. The flavour of Need You reflects the diversity of intent and approach in the Canadian music scene, and hints at the future potential of HMLT as a collective and curator of the groove-oriented vibe. (Urbnet)