Karlex: Paris | New York | Port-Au-Prince
Karlex: "Paris | New York | Port-Au-Prince"

Song List: Sleepless in Bandols, Restavek, O Ma Belle, Regarder La Verite, Migration People, Miami Beach, Beautiful Life, Slave Boat, I Say Hey, Ca Mouin Oue, Love Revolution, No More Lies

Paris | New York | Port-Au-Prince, the latest release by Haitian/French artist Karlex, displays a broad spectrum of musicality representing both his island and metropolitan cultures. Dubbed "the Bob Marley of Haiti," Karlex approaches this album with an international sound, including singing about half the album in French and the other half in English.

Stylistically, Karlex chooses not to stay put long enough to pin down to a particular genre. The album opens with a dreamy, sensual "Sleepless in Bandols" that blends elements of Al Jarreau with Sade—a slow, funk groove, airy vocals, a Rhodes keyboard tinkling over the jazz bass lines.

But from there, Paris | New York | Port-Au-Prince travels through genres just as the title moves through Karlex's home cities. The album incorporates some essence of rap, pop/rock, smooth jazz, world music, funk, and much more. What remains consistent with Karlex's sound is the groove—each song, independent of its genre, brings its rhythm to the forefront—and Karlex's thick French Creole accent, which seems to mold his low, rough vocal tone into his French and English vocal melodies.

Appropriately, Karlex has brought a worldly appeal to this internationally influenced record. With subjects ranging from love and sensuality to revolution and political persecution, Karlex does not stagnate lyrically. His sound and message accurately convey the thoughts and inspiration of an artist who comfortably makes his home on multiple continents. Paris | New York | Port-Au-Prince would seem at home on the radio waves in each of the three cities found in its title.

Reviewed on 4/30/13