Vinyl subscription service, Vinynlmnky, asked me to review their November Breakthrough Artist of the Month pick: Gallant’s Ology. My review is re-posted below. Check out Vinynlmnky and the original write-up here.
Gallant delivers a groundbreaking debut LP with the release of Ology. Pushing the boundaries of R&B, both lyrically and sonically, the Maryland-born musician carves out a distinctive voice with innovative precision.
That voice is one of a thinker and philosopher.
“Ology” is the study of a particular subject or interest. On his debut LP, Gallant dives into the existential, sharing doubts, frustrations, and the complex dynamics of soul versus body. “How’d my own molecules forsake me?” he questions on the driving Talking To Myself as he seeks guidance and purpose to his “earthbound and scatterbrained” existence.
This underlying anxiety manifests throughout the 16-track record. On the sparse Bone + Tissue, Gallant yearns to be larger than his “vessel,” to have an impact, and to leave something behind. “Won’t you lie through your teeth and tell me I’m a monument to more than bone and tissue?” he wails.
Minimal arrangements and crashing beats create an ambient atmosphere that emphasizes Gallant’s vocal deftness: one that ranges from quavering whispers to a chilling falsetto peppered with groans and cries.
His is a vocal prowess akin to R&B icons who’ve come before him such as D’angelo, Prince, and Usher. One can hear the echoes of said R&B icons and pioneers on Ology, as Gallant incorporates 80’s and 90’s influences into his sound.
On Miyazaki in particular, Gallant pays tribute to Groove Theory’s 1995 hit Tell Me with a down-tempo arrangement that samples the classic hook, “tell me if you want me to”. However Gallant flips the lyrics from one of attraction, to one of longing for what once was.
Gallant taps into our shared humanity on Ology and the nature of self-doubt, the search for understanding, and self-forgiveness. He expresses this best on Shotgun when he sings, “Will I regret my cause? Or revel in my thoughts?….Oh I know that I’d rather be bold.”
On Ology listeners have space to revel and ruminate, for resolutions often lie within these revelations. Through his vulnerability, Gallant encourages others to “open up” and expand.
Gallant is more than pulling his ‘weight in gold’ on Ology. He’s leading the musical torch into a new era of R&B. Press play and let your molecules alight.