A punchy, summer-fresh collection…

The sound of the summer has arrived with ‘The Juicebox’, the latest album from funky LA duo Emotional Oranges, made up of the anonymous singers A, the male vocalist, and V, the female vocalist. A fairly short record packed with collaborations from the likes of Vince Staples, Channel Tres and Becky G, ‘The Juicebox’ doesn’t overstay its welcome with only eight tracks, each exploring seduction, partying, and romance.

The entire album is infused with the duo’s blend of forward-thinking R&B, squeezing in every drop of the LA summer. Album opener and first single ‘All That’ features fellow LA native Channel Tres, who offers a sensual verse and rendition of the chorus alongside the duo, with V’s late verse multiplying the track’s heat tenfold.

Though collaborations throughout the album are mostly seamless, some might seem an odd fit on name recognition, with Vince Staples’ verse on ‘Back & Forth’ resembling his contribution to ‘Yo Love’ from the Queen & Slim Soundtrack. He’s laidback, adapting to the tone set by Emotional Oranges perfectly and dropping the hardcore nature of most of his work in favour of romantic bars. ‘Down To Miami’ is perhaps the most evocative of a pool party, with Latin singer Becky G adding a verse in Spanish which is perfectly complimentary to V’s detached, relaxed vocals. A is a little forgettable here – the track could have easily just been V and Becky G – though his chorus is a good fit with the production.

Perhaps one of the more unique collaborations is with Biig Piig on single ‘Body & Soul’, with the Irish singer and rapper’s opening verse and chorus melding with Emotional Oranges’ sound with ease. The production on ‘Lock It Up’ is shifting and soulful, with V’s backing vocals accompanying the synths perfectly in an upbeat banger.

The album’s closer, ‘No Words’ is more on the low-key side, even featuring some introspection from V’s singing, and a seductively sung Spanish verse from Latin singer YENDRY, but A is nowhere to be found here vocally, which somewhat illustrates on the album as a whole: at times, he feels like an afterthought, though his hooks are the album’s most memorable.

Overall, ‘The Juicebox’ is a concise collection of summery, electronic-infused R&B, once again proving that Emotional Oranges are one of the most exciting acts in the genre. It’s a little disappointing that A is in the background at times, but this is made up for with buttery smooth production and carefully chosen collaborations. Get out in the sun and have a listen.

7/10

Words: Jack Oxford

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