Having produced 10 out of the 15 tracks on Danny Brown’s phenomenal 2016 album Atrocity Exhibition, you would think now is a perfect time for Paul White to release a feature-heavy LP of off-kilter rap music, right? Wrong. Rejuvenate is a distinct stylistic u-turn, drawing on classic rock from the ’60s and ’70s to create a thoroughly entertaining release.
Sung vocals are provided by White and guests, and although there are some prog elements here the songs are kept relatively brief, with the longest track – the playful, dreamy Laugh With Me featuring White’s sister Sarah Williams White – just four and a half minutes long.
Psychedelia also has its role, for example in the trippy textures of Ice Cream Man featuring Shungudzo (“Tell the ice cream man come round / ‘cause I need that good come down”) and the uptempo final track All Around, also featuring Sarah Williams White.
The production is immaculate throughout, with wide panning reminiscent of mid-era Beatles albums and evocative studio tricks like flanging and tape loop echoes in abundance. The lyric writing, meanwhile, veers from the ethereal (as on the beautiful Soul Reunion) to relatively poppy (as on See Through featuring Denai Moore), although it sometimes takes a backseat in favour of atmosphere, as on the driving, instrumental title track.
In the context of Paul White’s career to date Rejuvenate is a bit of a gamble, and it may baffle fans of his previous work. But it is also an engaging, fascinating journey.