R&B/soul diva Kelly Hafner will unleash her debut album soon. Entitled If It’s Love, the album drops February 22. But you can get foretaste on January 18, when the lead single releases.
Hafner attended the Berklee College of Music and, upon her return to San Francisco’s Bay Area, she fronted Fire. Later, she moved to Austin, where she hooked up with fusion band Collective Thought, while writing and laying down tracks for her solo project.
If It’s Love comprises tens tracks. The album opens with the title track, a bluesy tune dripping with soul, highlighted by a potent bass line and taut drums. An oozing organ gives the tune a smoldering sensuality balanced against the gleaming guitar accents. Hafner’s voice, sultry with cool eroticism, sends washes of delicious sensations rippling through your diaphragm.
The crème de la crème tracks include “Things Are Changing,” a funky R&B number with tremolo guitars and a grinding groove. Braying horns infuse the tune with depth and bright colors, as Hafner struts the range and seething seduction of her voice. “No Time” brims with swampy blues and gospel flavors gliding on velvety horns and the rising tones of the organ. Hafner’s voice exhibits passion both intense and focused, surging with heartrending melancholy.
My favorite track is “Summergirl” because of its innovative blend of hip-hop, R&B, and reggae-lite flavors. The song opens a cappella, and then flows into a tight floating melody with slapping bass and syncopated drums. Melodic-rap-lite vocals give the tune a subtly yielding flow, enhanced by buttery background vocal harmonies.
The last track on the album is “Angel,” a R&B-flavored tune with minimal instrumentation. The sonic core of the song is the muscular beat, Hafner’s rich expansive timbres, and ethereal background harmonies that imbue the song with sylph-like textures, soft and gleaming.
With If It’s Love, Kelly Hafner delivers cool, stylish R&B colors resonant with beau coup soul and snug, creamy energy.