Over the last few weeks, "Sounds From The Workshop", the second album from the Leeds, UK songwriter and producer Reuben Vaun Smith has been a real daytime walking album for me. Down here in New Zealand, we're through the worst of winter and sunny days are becoming increasingly common. They're still not as warm as I'd like them to be, but they sure are nice.
Recorded over the course of a winter spent locked down in Yorkshire, "Sounds From The Workshop" sees Smith drawing on memories generated over the course of a summer spent learning to sail along the southern coast of Spain, and the influence of various Balearic, Afro-Caribbean and downbeat (trip-hop if you must) records pulled from his record collection. The result is a set of fifteen sun-kissed (and sometimes sunburnt) good times groovers with a dreaminess and vibrancy that sits as a companion to the atmospheres Smith conjured up on his debut album, "Warm Nights."
From the ascendant guitar figures and midtempo funk of album openers 'Sun Sun' and 'Hold Out' to the digi-rhythimatical shuffle of 'Deliciosa', Smith and his collaborators (his friends and his brother) gently tease out the vibes on "Sounds From The Workshop" before letting the experience unfurl into an elegant blend of soca, benga, lo-fi dream pop, blissful balearica, low-slung coastal funk and the odd hypnotic midtempo heater, all draped in subtle or not so subtle motifs borrowed from desert-dry Tuareg blues.
If you'd like to read some more about Smith, Ban Ban Ton Ton's Dr. Rob interviewed him recently. You can check out their Q&A conversation over here. Anyway, I've included an embed of "Sounds From The Workshop" below, and you can make a digital purchase or vinyl order over here.