“Funk pop” is a term you probably never thought you’d find yourself throwing around, but Kyle Thornton & The Company’s latest release will have you tapping your toes and changing your mind. Marrying thick, punchy bass lines and scores of brass instruments to bubbling, warm lyrics, Space To Move: Part I is exactly that—but perhaps with less-than-ample space to move.

The album adheres to the typical pop narrative featuring the lovelorn, well-spoken male protagonist serenading an unnamed object of desire in each track. But, on caliber with last fall’s “Uptown Funk,” it tacks on bluesy guitar and otherwise soulful attributes to transform the common man’s pop song into what Kyle Thornton describes as “soul-hop.”

Space To Move does not falter in its mission of fusing pop and blues. In fact, it succeeds almost too well; the radio-ready tunes seem to flow perfectly from Thornton’s lips to your ears. “Lemonade” heads off the album, sensual and sweet, with Thornton’s husky baritone rolling out euphemisms guised as comparisons to the tart beverage. (“Girl, you’re like a tall glass of lemonade / You’re perfect on a hot, muggy summer’s day / And I don’t ever wanna be thirsty / So come and sit your pitcher next to me.”) Still, as catchy as the hooks are, it feels a bit manufactured.

The Company bring a bluesy backing sound to each track, sometimes falling victim to monotony. But “The Thought Of You” brings a change from Thornton’s honey-coated melodies, integrating rapped verses. It catches the listener off guard at first, but The Company groove on in a glorified jam session, solidifying the “soul” half of their sound.

The album chugs along at a considerably slow pace, which threatens to lose the listener’s interest. While not necessarily dull to listen to, Space To Move doesn’t quite live up to its name, keeping its songs restrained within a pre-made pop box. Kyle Thornton & The Company shouldn’t be passed over, but Space To Move risks falling into the background of radio-friendly, saccharine pop songs.

Album Review: Kyle Thornton & The Company – Space To Move: Part I
  • Delightful and smooth listening
  • Clever lyricism
  • Unoriginal take on sound
  • Risks being passed over
  • Waiting for the climax...
6.5Funky, Not Fresh

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