Review

Black Pumas

Chronicles Of A Diamond

ATO Records • 2023

When Black Pumas released their self-titled debut album four years ago, the big soul revival around labels like Daptone and Big Crown was no longer quite so fresh as morning snow. The meteoric rise of the duo from Austin, Texas was all the more astonishing since they not only sold out venues around the world, but were even invited to play at President Biden’s inauguration. Other bands had, and still have, rousing retro funk and soul with hip-hop beats, the odd rock guitar, gospel influences and variable vocals in their repertoire, but Black Pumas combined all this with an extra dose of pop appeal, embracing the otherwise unloved mainstream. On the follow-up »Chronicles of a Diamond«, singer Eric Burton and producer Adrian Quseada build on these strengths, sounding even catchier and more anthemic at times. They are even more confident when it comes to songwriting and performing. With this newfound confidence at their backs, they occasionally overstep the mark—for example when Burton catapults his voice through all registers to show what he can do—but ultimately this growth in confidence is convincing.