We were anticipative of contemporary hip hop but Rationale — real name Tinashe Fazakerley — is somewhat old school Rnb.
Having been flummoxed by the lack of hippity hop, the album still left us slightly discombobulated (he started it, Rationale Fazakerley indeed): Fazakerley has a good voice, a soulful baritone that connects with the listener’s emotions and could, with the right tunes, produce something that would be out of this world, as per the sleeve. But he doesn’t quite get there.
The tunes are strong, just not up to his voice. We remember actor Robbie Coltrane, early in his career, never landing a part that matched his physical presence, and Rationale’s vocal chords have the same problem.
Opener Re-Up is pretty good, a soulful tune that shows what he can do with a more standard tune. In other places he reminds us of Labi Siffre, and the better tunes are the ones where his African (born in Zimbabwe) roots get a look in: we like the juicy Oil And Water and the atmospheric Fast Lane best.
The standout is probably Prodigal Son, addressed to his father: “I wanna hold council with the ghost of my father / Tell him I’ll be everything he could never be” while admitting he is “burning bridges at the speed of light”.
Great voice, good tunes: he’s got a masterpiece in him, and though this ain’t it, it’s good if you like intelligent pop/RnB. There’s a bit of filler but not too much.
The rationale next step..