Austin, Texas’ Luis the Lover is a tenderly-voiced singer-songwriter that dabbles heavily in the lonely, detached sounds of modern R&B. His 2019 project I Wanna Die More Than You is an excellent collection of initially disparate sounds that ultimately converge into a beautiful orchestra of experimental sound.

From a Distance’, which dropped over two years ago and is self-proclaimed to be the artist’s first song ever, is the most typical of the melancholy R&B sounds that dominated the latter half of the 2010’s. Luis’ vocal talent is first revealed here, his voice filled with pain and regret. ‘Why do you do this to me? Why can’t you just chill with me? Why does he come up in all conversations?’ the singer implores on this song. It’s a chillingly effective opener, and it’s matched in emotional intensity by the second track ‘I’m Sorry’. Luis here proves himself to be exceptionally good at writing pop tracks, something he returns to in more skeletal form on ‘Party in My Room’.

The genre diversity throughout the Texan’s discography is undeniably impressive: ‘Always Felt Like Malcolm in the Middle’ is a gorgeous, soulfully-performed piano ballad that hones in on the rawer aspects of the singer’s vocal performance, while ‘Nobody to Guild Me But Myself’ is an acoustic jam/freestyle session with some field recording elements thrown in. Luis’ ability to switch between singing and rapping seamlessly has massively benefited the fluidity of his music, and helped him adapt his style to the ever-shifting climates of pop and rap in the last few years.

Recently, Luis has formed a partnership with Mason Flynt, whose production work can be heard on the aforementioned ‘Party in My Room’ and throughout the 2020 Groove EP. As the artist’s first work of the new decade, it’s a strong statement that incorporates synth pop, trap and EDM into its five tracks. The four original tracks that make up the bulk of the project are all incredibly strong pop-trap hybrids that frequently stray into fist-pumpingly anthemic territory, and when a typically high-effort feature from Adamn Killa is included on the remix of ‘Howling at the Moon’ it really feels like the project has come to a satisfying, cathartic close.

Luis’ catalogue is worth exploring for a number of reasons, but primarily because his quest to release memorable music has so far been one hundred percent successful. Despite the diversity of his content, he never approaches any genre half-heartedly and always manages to match the kind of expectations placed on young, talented artists with the ability to specialise in more than one musical avenue.

– Chris (@108mics)

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