Quelle Chris and Chris Keys release their new ‘Innocent Country 2’ album.
If Quelle Chris and Chris Keysâ€™ Innocent Country 2 sounds like an antidote for a moment of surreal anxiety, the same could be said of it a decade from now. Itâ€™s an album best understand in a dialogue with the first volume of the series. Released in 2016, the initial Innocent Country focused on isolation, pessimism, and the notion of finding peace within pain.
At a time when those feelings convey the mood of the moment, Quelle and Keys have responded with a soundtrack that offers soothing light in a bleak timeline. A hopeful record in a hopeless moment, precisely when itâ€™s needed most.
The country that Quelle describes is presented in both the individual sense and as a whole, a nation whose hands are stained with blood. Itâ€™s about recognizing the complexity of our fractured identity, the good and evil that most of us contain, our ability to acknowledge, grow, heal, help, communicate, live, and learn from one another.
It is a subtle and soul-reviving record that reveals its depth in layers and repeated listens. An organic and preternaturally funky album that couldâ€™ve emerged from Electric Ladyland Studios during the peak of the Soulquarian movement, yet feels distinctly contemporary. A long-lost Slum Village record excavated from the vaults, except it could only come from Quelle Chris and Chris Keys.
The cast of collaborators is as impressive as any record in recent memory. Earl Sweatshirt, billy woods, Homeboy Sandman, Pink Siifu, Cavalier, and Denmark Vessey all kick indelible laser-eye guide raps. Two of the funniest people on earth, Marcella Arguello and Josh Gondelman (a writer and producer on Desus & Mero) perform skits, including the formerâ€™s hilarious rant about the importance of never sending a call straight to voicemail while youâ€™re tweeting. Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs, Starr Busby, and Melanie St. Charles contribute beatific hymns and eternal soul.