Amber Mark – Conexão – LP
Released 5/4/2018

The latest from New York-raised songwriter Amber Mark follows her stellar 2017 EP 3:33am, which provided a peek into the massive maturity and potential of the young vocalist and producer. Those songs largely dealt with feelings of grief and letting go, whether the thoughts came through in the moody sway of standout single “Lose My Cool” or emotional centerpiece “Monsoon,” a touching send off to her late mother.

From the opening notes of “Conexão,” Mark’s music feels rooted in the same peaceful rhythms as her debut, though her lyrical focus has clearly shifted. “It feels so damn electric / the way we speak body language / and everything is connected,” she sings during the song’s chorus, her delivery and accompanying chords adding an inquisitive, tentative undertone to her hopeful words.

“After my mom passed away and I went through the emotional rollercoaster, I felt like I had come to the conclusion that I had already had my soulmate – there was never going to be a stronger love than that. I was never gonna experience that again, which I still to this day think is true,” revealed Mark in an interview with Billboard. “Once I started to be in a relationship again, I realized that I found love just as strong but in a different form. I wanted to write about that connection you build with someone and how close you get with someone.”

Just like on 3:33am, Mark proves herself keen in her use of space on her latest EP. “Love Me Right,” the best song of Mark’s brief yet bright career thus far, pairs impressionistic chords and hints of subtle percussion before arriving at the song’s irresistible chorus. The rousing bridge is full of soaring overdubs and electronic strings that climax before fading out to just Mark’s voice, spare keys and gentle cymbals.

“Love is Stronger Than Pride” pays homage to Sade, the closest comparison for Mark’s brand of sensual, patient pop. Her take on the quiet storm classic is neither a direct cover nor total reboot, with a percussive base that propels the track forward in ways not present on the original. As Mark revealed in the same interview with Billboard, this version even earned a nod of approval from the soul queen herself. “All the Work” is the most uptempo cut of the four-song set, two-step music with shades of Latin percussion.

Conexão continues to build a case for the 24-year-old becoming a breakout star. With “Love Me Right” her largest hit to date and recent song “Put You On,” a collaboration with rapper/singer DRAM full of bright 90s R&B vibes, at over 700 thousand views in only a few weeks, she’s proving herself more and more an undeniable creative force in modern soul and R&B.

by Brandon Roos