Omar Apollo’s anti-pop agenda is less evident on ‘Ivory’, instead wiping the slate clean from 2020’s lockdown-steeped ‘Apoliono’ and embracing a more acoustic-pop voice, deploying his relatable, effervescent ballads to astounding effect. He leans on a woolly, biting guitar for spontaneous solos in ‘Talk’ and the intro to ‘Killing Me’, giving both tracks a jolt of psych infusion. Sultry slow dance ‘Evergreen’ flirts with Omar’s lovelorn Silk Sonic influences, using a minimal brass band to lull the listener into his soporific flow. The album gathers tempo at ‘Petrified’, a smooth alt-rock anthem, with Omar crying out “I’m thinking of you more each day / I’m thinking about all the words you say to me” with a glorious gravel to his tone as he enters his higher register. ‘Tamagotchi’ is an on-the-nose, steeze-soaked track that combines late 2010’s R&B flow with a plucked samba cadence, with Omar distorting his own voice to create a Brockhampton-like effect. Omar Apollo inspires, and his competence as a vocalist is unmistakable on ‘Ivory’. Conflating his electro-pop tendencies with the occasional stride of a campfire guitar, he turns everything he touches to glistening radio gold.
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