Efrain Arias-Medina Jr.
After years of releasing various singles and an EP, singer-songwriter Joyce Wrice released her debut album “Overgrown.”
“Overgrown” is a flashback to the ’90s as Wrice pulls influence from Mariah Carey, Brandy and Aaliyah with her own twist.
The album runs about 38 minutes, and each track flows seamlessly into the next. Wrice sings on the trials and tribulations of love over the 14 stunning and hypnotizing R&B tracks.
The opening track, “Chandler,” sets the stage for Wrice’s multi-layered instrumentation and use of multiple backing vocals at any time on the album. The track has a sultry and upbeat yet orchestral feel to it, as Wrice’s vocals float through the composition. The song is addictive, and more elements of composition become apparent after each listen, such as the sprinkled piano chords that can be faintly heard starting right at the beat drop around the 00:27 minute mark.
Even though Wrice’s voice is memorable on its own and her solo tracks are without a doubt unskippable, the features make the album. Incredible talents from Lucky Daye, Freddie Gibbs, Kaytranada, Umi and more give the album an extra layer of depth and groove.
“Falling In Love” holds heavier drums and an underlying synth bass. Wrice and Daye’s voices go hand in hand, intertwined throughout the verses and chorus of the three-minute track, singing about not wanting to regret falling in love.
“You” calmly and entrancingly brings back earlier vocals from the previous track, “Losing.” Wrice sings over a soothing, lo-fi-like drum beat with echoes of a distant guitar. Wrice’s lyrical confession of her love for someone is cradled by the hazy, lulling instrumental, a contrast from the bright and upbeat backing on “Losing.”
“Westside Gunn’s Interlude” offers a break from Wrice’s soft vocals and displays the in-your-face rap skills of Westside Gunn. Offering a more explicit take on love, Gunn displays a creative and fun flow throughout the two-minute track.
On “Addicted,” Wrice sings about thinking of someone 24/7 over a dreamy, guitar echoing instrumental. The instrumental itself acts as a reflection of all the good parts of being addicted to someone as the track shimmers and guitars echo melodically throughout.
“Kaytra’s Interlude” is a mesmerizing track that leaves you wanting more. A little over a minute long, the song was co-produced by Kaytranada, who also contributed to the first verse over the noisy yet intriguing instrumental.
The last five tracks of the album close Wrice’s whimsical world of “Overgrown.” From singing to a stripped-down groovy bassline and a soft keyboard on “Hot Minute Interlude” to singing in Japanese with Umi on the magical track “That’s On You,” Wrice finishes strong.
The title track “Overgrown” takes the last three minutes of the album. Sharply changing direction from the previous tracks, the ballad highlights Wrice’s powerful vocals with nothing but piano accompaniment. As she sings about learning to love and accept yourself, Wrice rounds out the album.
“Overgrown” is refreshing and extraordinary. In just 38 minutes, listeners are taken away by Wrice’s work, entranced by the music’s dreamy and vibrant glow.