The O'My's: Tomorrow

John Bricker By

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Tomorrow, a neo-soul album from the Chicago duo The O'My's, is a mellow lavishly-arranged gem. Across their third album's half an hour, vocalist and guitarist Maceo Vidal-Haymes and keyboardist Nick Hennessey deliver smooth and subtle instrumentation with evocative vocal performances.

The O'My's shine brightest when working with other Chicago musicians, creating simple, soulful backdrops for charming rap verses. On "Puddles," the duo lay a smokey, jazzy foundation for indie rapper Saba, who delivers a nostalgic verse about a past relationship. Haymes' thickly layered, breezy vocals serve as a counterpoint to Saba's flow and compliment the track's warm bass, muted electric guitars, distant trumpet and watery keys.

Chance The Rapper joins the line-up for Tomorrow's most expressive, bittersweet track, "Idea," where Hennessey's cold piano joins gentle acoustic guitar, stuttering snares and Haymes' spacey crooning. Chance's simple, warm singing elevates the track to a new emotional level. The track closes with a cathartic build of background vocals and Haymes' strained cries, fading into quiet, slowly ascending and descending piano scales.

While Tomorrow's best tracks showcase fellow Chicago artists, The O'My's prove they are capable of carrying tracks by themselves using experimental production and dynamic compositions. On the short but sweet guitar ballad "Special," Haymes experiments with vocal pitching and filtering to create subtle backing vocals that compliment his breezy crooning over restrained acoustic guitar arpeggios and echoey percussion. Although the track is nothing more than a hook and two verses, Haymes' charming vocals and Hennessey's bright guitar make it a bright spot on the album.

"Afraid" begins with a single, forlorn acoustic guitar and gradually builds into Tomorrow's most rapturous song. The track's opening guitar strums and soft vocals effortlessly communicate its dejected mood, which slowly builds with soft electric guitar, spacey percussion and a passionate hook from Haymes. Watery keys and swells of warm synths carry the track into its victorious outro, where distant background vocals are paired with soft harmonies, frantic piano and Haymes' strained cries. The track fades away in a gentle tapestry of bass and filtered background vocals, slowly dodging in and out of the mix.

Although Tomorrow doesn't reach for much conceptual or compositional ambition, its polished production and soulful performances make it a rewarding, peaceful experience. The O'My's have created a stunning mood piece perfect for a rainy Fall day.

Track Listing: Starship; Niña Fresa; Baskets; Tomorrow; Puddles; Faces; Afraid; Idea; Special; Walkout; Tomorrow (Reprise).

Personnel: Maceo Vidal-Haymes: vocals, guitar; Nick Hennessey: keyboard.

Title: Tomorrow | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Haight.


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