If you title your album, All The Things You Know to Be True? (hmm, why the question mark?), and start with a song titled, “Sin and Shame,” featuring spoken word artist Leanne Stoddart and her risque joke, you will have turning heads. But it’s singer-songwriter and musician Rob Carvalho‘s smooth 90’s R&B tenor voice and eclectic music styles in his album that pulls you in more.
Part of the UK’s Arkital Records and band, The Xtended Family, Carvalho mixes reggae, soul, Latin, funk, jazz, and dub from different eras together for a style that sounds somewhere between Maxwell, Earth, Wind and Fire, and Maxi Priest. His songs range from the romantic (“Loving U”) to the social and political, like “Du Et,” the ending song “Electric Cotton,” a critique of the stresses and tiring tugs of modern day life, and “Equation,” a grooving song about a student feeling disconnected within school because they do not teach the full story. The equation represents not only the student’s work that he has to do, but also the world he does not fit in.
Another standout song about being careful about what you believe, which features the title of the album, “People n Bullshit,” has a funky 80s R&B production feel to it with synthesizers and vocoders. While another, “Dubplate,” the music becomes the theme of the song as the singer “search[es] for a version.”
The out-of-the-ordinary and the crazy things of the world has become normal in “Oblivious” is another song that seems to epitomizes what is probably the point of the album with its old school R&B feel — to subtly make you rethink the things that we have grown used to in the world.