McClenney Subdues, Invents & Emerges Emotional & New w/ I'm Not Here
Evan Dale // April 9, 2019
McClenney has been involved in somewhat of a reinvention of self over the last year, dropping his first name from his moniker, slowing things down, and experimenting with some of the most defining instrumental, mellow R&B of the moment. En route to the release of I’m Not Here, his first project since 2017’s Portrait in Two, his auditory aesthetic has become built on increasingly low key production, acoustic instrumentation, delicate vocalism, and a velvety, dreamy texture that bridges the gap between the new wave, home-grown feel of mellow pop and the perfectionism and emotional response of classic R&B. Apparently, it’s his lane because what he is doing, no one else is.
I’m Not Here is only five tracks in length, two of which – SOS and Love in the Sky – were the leading singles to the project. But, the combination of his knack for emotional breadth and inventive lane changes in his sound make the project seem much larger. End to end, the project is tied together first with McClenney’s vocal ability which rivals anyone else in R&B and neo-soul in both its softness and its individuality; Second, with an inspirational preference for the myriad of instruments he plays which leave I’m Not Here bubbling over with sexy guitar riffs and sensitive keys; Third, with an undeniable ability to enter the scene of hyper-experimental artists quickly making R&B and neo-soul the most groundbreaking stylings in music; And fourth, by his classic knack for instilling emotion, lust, love, and loss at each and every turn.
Love in the Sky and SOS which make up the heart of I’m Not Here’s lineup, lead the way in its necessary up-tempo and vibrant direction, while the three new additions, the Fear, Art of the Loner, and quiet/us bring an altogether different, subdued, and borderline ambient aesthetic to the project, rounding it out, bringing balance, and taking advantage of a direction thus far subtly treaded in experimental R&B and neo-soul.