Black & White
Royal Tailor isn’t the first Christian band to mix R&B, pop and hip-hop (remember dcTalk?), but it achieves this fusion exceptionally well on Black & White. The quartet conveys its messages of hope, self-respect and salvation with a light yet passionate touch, laying down persuasive grooves along with its God-centered testimony. Lead singer Tauren Wells is capable of sleek vocal moves à la Bruno Mars or Maroon 5’s Adam Levine, with a hint of ‘80s-era Michael Jackson present as well. The band’s ensemble playing is tight and supple, veering from the percolating beats of “Wannabe” to the elegant balladry of “Gravity (Pulling Heaven Down).” Songs like “Hold Me Together” and “Love Is Here” are heartfelt expressions of faith with appeal for secular listeners. “Control” takes some pointed digs at contemporary pop culture, checking off references to Ke$ha, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry to a body-grabbing dance track. When they want to — as in “Freefall” — Royal Tailor delivers the sort of big celebratory choruses that Christian radio craves. A very encouraging debut by a band that blends genres with a confident sense of spiritual mission.