Mikky Ekko Time
    • WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 28, 2015

    • Posted by: Josh Ramos

    We've known his voice for a while, but now it's time to know his name. Pop artist Mikky Ekko's stunning debut goes a long way to showcasing him as more than just a one-hit wonder. After bursting onto the scene with the 2013 hit "Stay," his colossal duet with Rihanna, Ekko's new album Time should cement his name in the industry. The Louisiana born artist fits right into the pop music mold: a compelling sound milked from a variety of genres.

    Ekko firmly tries to flex his musical chops throughout Time. Rock grooves, exploding synths, and mellow piano riffs constantly flutter in and out of the album, making for a varied, if not predictable, sound. Much like Frank Ocean, he caters to the new look blue-eyed soul movement which mixes electronic tinges with a willingness to allow digital factors into the music. With R&B styled vocals and the dreamy story telling of Chris Martin, he takes the blues out of R&B, and inserts vibrating pop. His sound is expansive, yet rooted in passionate pleas of potential love. While sonically grand—utilizing varied instruments such as drum machines, electric guitars, and a vast assortment of keyboards—the music is never too intricate as to seem like he is trying too hard. This becomes an issue though, as the songs begin to sound the same and meld into the next. It often feels like one never-ending ballad.

    As the album unfolds, Ekko offers his audience different musical landscapes. It's a tactical lure designed to catch the attention of all potential listeners. "Riot" thumps along with an ear ringing guitar riff, and drum work that would make any live show be apt to start a mosh pit. "Comatose" follows in a similar vein to "Stay," a simple piano riff and yearning lyrics: "We really wanna live this way / 'Cause all I really want is you to stay." Then the electronic tinge of "Pretend You Care" shows that Ekko is far from the traditional pop artist. Much like Sam Smith, it becomes apparent that Ekko is capable of singing over a variety of sounds.

    While the music is far from innovative, echoing the songwriting style of 2014's breakout artist Sam Smith, Ekko has the vocal stuff to back it up. The album's opener, "Watch Me Rise," is a vocal showcase and a grand entrance rolled into one: "Say my name / Cause once I get my head above the clouds / I'm never coming down." His voice is the leading instrument, and his confidence never falters. Time allows Ekko to prove that he is capable of standing out. With a powerful voice and a penchant for relatable lyrics, Mikky Ekko has made a strong case for his talents. As the album title so sagely taunts, only time will tell if this blue-eyed soul experiment will solidify a place for itself alongside pop's tested crooners.

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