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Critiques CD: Ango | Serpentine

After his sultry love jam buffet on the Another City EP (LuckyMe), a Valentine’s Day cover of Sade’s “No Ordinary Love” and the launch of his uptempo Nouveau Palais project with pals Prison Garde and Lunice, Montreal producer/crooner Ango recently dropped his first mournful mixtape Serpentine, for which he enlisted the production acumen of Jacques Greene, Kuedo, Numan, Prison Garde & Eames. The album oscillates between eminently soothing and a tad grating, depending on whether Ango’s echoey, ethereal vocals are paired with appropriate production. His sound, which could broadly be described as a tapestry of suave house tempos, languorous R&B emoting and synthy pop hooks, works best on cuts such as Jacques Greene’s swirling garage track “True Blue”, with its shimmery synths that nicely complement Ango’s soulful tone. “Woman, Get Out of My Life” is an effective Sade-esque ballad buttressed by the singer’s honest, melancholy delivery. The Prison Garde & Eames produced “Paralyzed” is the closest Serpentine comes to a dreamy dancefloor number. But Ango’s vocals are at times too uniformly washed out, too clean-cut and polished to really buy into his emotional journey, which explains why certain tracks sadly come off as syrupy (“Anchor”, “Losing You”). Nevertheless, Serpentine remains an auspicious effort – here’s hoping Ango really lets loose on the next one.