Vinyl Review - Month March 2024

Vinyl Review - Month March 2024

Black Pumas “Chronicles of a Diamond” (2023)

With "Chronicles of a Diamond", the duo Eric Burton (vocals) and Adrian Quesada (producer) have once again created an excellent mix of Soul, R'n'B and Psychedelic Funk. Burton's unique voice and Quesada's production have really stepped up their collaboration from their debut album from 2019. The Grammy nominations in 2019 for 'Best New Artist' and 'Album of the Year' definitely put a lot of pressure on the second album. I myself was very interested in the second album when it was released. They surprised me and beat my expectations. In short: with the 2023 album, Black Pumas are no longer an insider tip. They don't care about genres, but use the familiar ones as a ladder to create their very own sound. This album has to be in every collection. Period.

Due to the length of this post, I'm only going to describe two - accidentally selected - tracks. To do this, I simply entered 'Black Pumas 2023' on YouTube and clicked on two lines at random. The following songs were selected: Mrs Postman and Angel. I now place the vinyl on the turntable and move the record arm...

Mrs. Postman

After the first few seconds, you think to yourself that this popsong has excellent piano playing. Oh, sorry! It's not a popsong. It's definitely jazzy. No. ...uh wait a minute. Jazz doesn't usually have a hiphop beat. Now Eric drops his soul voice from above over this soundscape. It goes with it like aceto balsamico over fruity strawberries or ripe parmesan. I just don't know yet whether it's going in the direction of Pop, Jazz or Hiphop. And with every bar that goes by, you don't care at all. What we hear here now is simply beautiful. This fusion is extremely successful and it's very rare to hear something so individual. The track is remarkably groovy. If the listener isn't nodding their head or tapping their foot, then they have no heart. The song is the test of whether you feel the air and the vibe, or whether you are a smartphone zombie who is saying goodbye to active life. The others listen, grin and move to the beat.



The guitar awakens your senses at the beginning with its simple melody, Eric's voice comes as a surprise and brings a cool contrast to your listening experience. The range of his vocals immediately captures you and is framed extremely sensitively by the harmonies of the background singers. With the first chorus, the track is accompanied only by finger snaps and minimal chords. I love how you are picked up here. Then, surprisingly, there is a rather late, but quite striking, howling guitar entry. Huh! Is this a mix of PinkFloyd with Soul? The Salzburger in me wonders here: What's happening here? (Dialect: Jo gehts eigentlich no'?) The record answers with a bass line. The song develops into a listening pleasure that gives you goose bumps. You sink into the arrangements. It becomes warm and soft.

There are standard productions and there is music. This is music. It's a basic question, like "Are you looking for a sweater made of polyester or cashmere?"

At the end - far too early for me - I seriously ask myself: how did they manage that? I lift the needle to listen to 'Angel' again, because I choose cashmere, of course.


With their second album, Black Pumas have shown the music world what music should sound in the 21st century. You take the musical shoulders of the great artists of the past as a strong foundation and build your own album on them. "Chronicles of a Diamond" is definitely in my top five from the year 2023.


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