It is challenging not to use some pretty repulsive terms – sensuous, slick and smooth, for example – when describing no world. The production is impeccable and the aura so warm that it sounds as though it’s been wrapped in a blanket. inc. are two brothers, both session musicians, and this shows: they’re highly competent, achieving natural transitions and developments, and effectively executing the art of simplicity. Disappointingly though, both appear somewhat reluctant to take an entirely authoritative stride forward and no world begins to possess an unfortunate inevitability.
On opener ‘The Place’, Andrew Aged almost whispers ‘Feel like we’ve been here before, the place that we already know’. It is familiar and these sounds and ideas aren’t revolutionary. They have been and will doubtless be compared countless times again to Prince, but no world has also been shaped by those inc. have worked with. Admittedly it’s hard to detect much of 50-Cent or Beck, but the suggestion of the influence of Pharrell Williams and Elton John isn’t too far-fetched.
Resisting the hushed, welcoming invitation of no world is difficult. It envelops and protects the personal, almost introverted, lyrical themes – ‘Nothing left to do but pray, let the wind take me away’ – while the hushed vocal delivery only enhances the delicacy. It is caught in the middle of the nocturnal spectrum too, not aimed at dancefloors yet also not wishing to cower and hibernate. Rather it diffuses, sparking a subdued animation and demanding sophisticated movement and action. inc. possess sonic similarities to The Weeknd, but are refined and cleaner (and far less adventurous), as the instrumentation comforts Andrew’s personal pain instead of goading it on. They are also their moral antithesis: The Weeknd inhabited and embraced a reckless and sordid world whereas inc. wish to break away from heartbreak and other negative emotions.
But no world lacks an edge or a change of tempo. As it continues, it begs for one of the brothers to be confident, take full control and channel their abilities into a different direction. It is an impressive debut, one that fills a certain moment and mood perfectly. Sadly though the Aged brothers are currently a little too shackled by their experience as session musicians, even if it does help to give no world an admirable maturity and self-assurance.
no world by inc. is out now from 4AD records