The bounce of her self-made production is unmistakably modern, but there’s a classic quality to Amber Mark’s approach to R&B and soul. Her songs read like standards when she’s at her peak, and her bright, rasping vocal lines could translate into any decade.
Her long-awaited debut, Three Dimensions Deep, hits the beats you could expect. It often does so joyfully, and with a specificity of personal perspective that elevates its material. Take opener, ‘One’, a touching tribute to her late mother that reaches into the beyond for advice and perseverance, over sizzling horn samples and percussion. Then there’s ‘On & On’, which uses an inventive near-interpolation of Elton John’s ‘Bennie and the Jets’ to offset its heady tale of self-doubt and existentialism.
The album sags when it’s not exploring Mark’s unique or more personal ideas, like on ‘Darkside’, with its hokey Star Wars references and a drab approach to cinematic euphoria. With seventeen tracks, the collection could have been trimmed into a tighter and more impactful offering. But given the thematic return to self-belief and constant growth, it’s obvious that these are important songs to their creator, and her journey through personal doubt and spirituality is relatable. We end on ‘Event Horizon’, a space-age acoustic cut inspired by Mark’s fascination with wormholes in the dark days of lockdown (we’ve all been there). With its hypnotic pull, it reveals just how many directions she could go in the future. With talent like hers, we’d be silly not to follow her into the void.
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