Flying Lotus’ ear isn’t easily turned and so when he adds an artist to his Brainfeeder imprint, you sit up and listen. Luckily, Essex native Stuart Howard hasn’t disappointed, as he continues to shape his brand of smart, sassy future-R&B, gradually stretching the definition of pop, syncopated beat by syncopated beat.

Since his 2011 debut, the ‘Many Faces Out of Focus’ EP, Howard has specialised in creating music that is at once infectious and unsettling. Positioned just off the dance floor, these are the sounds that might have been made had R Kelly signed to Skam back in 1990. Indeed, you get the sense that this is a man who could knock out a chart single if he had the desire; if linear structures could hold the Lapalux attention span for long enough. Instead, like 2013’s ‘Nostalchic’, ‘Lustmore’ obsesses over texture and stuttering rhythms, employing attack and decay masterfully.

Working with vocalists Andreya Triana and Szjerdene, Howard has created some dazzling choruses, with single ‘Closure’ the jewel in ‘Lustmore’’s crown; a heartachingly gorgeous end-of-the-night anthem. However, the real highlights are in the largely instrumental ‘We Lost’, ‘Don’t Mean A Thing’, and ’Funny Games’, where he sets ambience to aggression with the dexterity of a young Tom Jenkinson (there must be something in that Essex water). Stick your charts – this is the outer reaches of pop and it sounds superb.


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