Album Review // SAXKIXAVE ‘I Don’t Wear Suits’
The newly born duo, SaxKixAve has dropped their debut album, I Don’t Wear Suits.
Including New Orleans Rapper, Alfred Banks and Grammy-nominated saxophonist/producer, Albert Allenback, SaxKixAve bring forth their humorous and high-energy musicianship. This is shown within the first track, Intro, as Alfred factually states, “I don’t like wearing suits. I don’t like suits. They feel uncomfortable. They don’t feel good.” At first, it is seen as an irrelevant comment to start off a debut album with but later comes through full circle. Finally becoming a realization that their boyish charm yet mature musical expertise effortlessly wed to create a spiritual yet elementary project.
SaxKixAve was conceived during a pre-arranged, intimate studio session between Alfred and Albert where they quickly recognized their workflow was flawless and the angelic energy was palpable. Both musicians gained musical experience from two different paths: Alfred being a solo-artist of 10 years with a recent LP that inhabited both, iTunes and Billboard Charts and Albert being the flute/saxophone genius behind the Grammy-nominated group, Tank and the Bangas, of six years.
HeadMistress is the first track to commence the overall theme in the collaborated project. Between the rapid and restless piano chords outshined by a simple percussion sequence, the track reveals the dedication it takes to be a successful musician while still holding onto a fragile mental state. As Alfred preaches, “and I know life gonna have a couple downs / but I get too emotional / when that shit come around,” followed shortly after with, “I go everywhere / I do everything / they ask me what I do / (shit) almost everything,” the juxtaposition of being a motivated businessman with a gentle heart – something both Alfred and Albert take pride in.
Optimism trails behind with a not so subtle explosion of fuzzy synthesizers and loud booms to support a boisterous Alfred and features Mickey Factz pontificating about the benefits of a high strung musician. With a slight intermission of the busy production done by Albert, to reflect, “Optimism is something I’ve always struggled with / But at the end of the day things are going so well right now / You have no choice but to be / Factz can agree that sometimes things get a little crazy / And optimism can be the main driving force.” A wholesome mindset we are all facing during a current, mentally draining isolation and having hope (optimism) through it all can be the main thing leading us home.
Even though there are moments of tranquil maturity their childlike humor isn’t far behind. Following the humbling track, Optimism, is their provocative yet sincere track, Cheeks. A modern spin on a love song with brash sonic undertones and simplistic vocals. As Alfred repeats: “Keep me in your back pocket / I wanna feel your ass / feel your ass / wanna feel your ass / on my cheek girl.” The repetitive and attractive manner imprints itself in your brain, unapologetically. I couldn’t help but find myself mumbling this under my breath during famously, inappropriate times – grocery trips and meetings with my boss.
SaxKixAve plays the role of the two goofballs in the friend group. The comic relief companions that surprisingly double as your go-to for life advice. There is no shock when multiple mutual friends’ vocals come on the project, such as ‘Tank’ of Tank and the Bangas on the bopping track, Mr Apricot. Between the stylistic drum rhythms, opposing sonic quality, and harmonious vocals the track concludes the early assumption that “fun” is their main goal for this project. With a hint of seriousness, the EP is always matched with its opposing friend, silliness. During a time of constant fear, SaxKixAve brings a sense of serenity to our ears. Like a sibling who hugs you tightly after a day of rough play, Alfred and Albert play with their dottiness and amusing one-liners to create a safe place for us to arrive at during a time of confusion, both mentally and universally.