It’s been a while since we’ve heard a falsetto like that. With the drop of “Unholy”, the long-awaited debut album of Collard, it can feel like you’re going through a glorious form of time travel. It’s not so much that there are nods to old-school vocals and soul, it’s more like the whole album vibrates with them.

Formally of the Last Night In Paris collective, the 24-year-old Londoner had to break out solo to find his balance of modern edge with a vintage soul. Then, of course, there’s the voice. His control shines through on tracks like “Murder Murder”, but it’s through the album as a whole that you appreciate the range, depth, and versatility of the music. 

The recently released video for “Ground Control” has already been making a stir and growing an interest in the new album. “The ‘Ground Control’ visual is a depiction of me battling with my own demons and feelings as if I’m forever followed and seduced by a devilish, Mephistopheles like character (Kojey Radical),” Collard explained in a press release. “

Through many conversations with my creative directors (Eseosa Ohen & Joseph Shaw) we all agreed we wanted to take a more theatrical route in terms of the production to extenuate as much as possible the feeling of danger and self-enabled helplessness which led me down the destructive path the song is based on.”

That darkness seems to be an innate part of his writing process — one that doesn’t hold him back, but spurs him forward. “You think LA is going to unlock this creative thing,” Collard said of his work. “But I need to be miserable to write and London makes me miserable! I love that.” But the album still has many moments of playfulness, funk, and raw sexuality, alongside a deep emotional candour. 

Collard

Josh Collard, Arts Club, London, 10 April 2019. Photo by: Carsten Windhorst

The new album seems to synthesize a diverse range of influences, interests, and styles — each track working as a layer to create a more holistic and honest portrayal of who Collard is and what he has to offer. Together, there’s a timeless, universal quality to his sound that will resonate in a way that moves past traditional genres. And if the album leaves you hungry for more, don’t worry — with a mind like his, Collard’s wheels are already spinning. “‘Unholy’ is just the first chapter,” he said. “I’m already thinking about the next one.”

You can listen to “Unholy” on Spotify, iTunes, or wherever you get your music.