Over the course of this site’s nine year history, I’ve written quite a bit about the New York-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Kelsey Warren, a grizzled local scene vet, who has been in a number of projects as a side man, hired gun or frontman including Denise Barbarita and the Morning Papers, and Pillow Theory among others.
Now, as you may recall, Warren’s latest attention-grabbing project Blak Emoji began in 2015 as a solo recording project with a rotating cast of players; however, over the past couple of years, the project gradually evolved into a full-fledged band that features Sylvana Joyce (keytar), Bryan Percival (bass, keys) and Max Tholenaar-Maples (drums). During that same period, the project released a handful of slinky, 80s synth funk-inspired singles — “Another Club Night,” “Velvet Ropes & Dive Bars” and “Honey,” — that won attention across the blogosphere and this site. And while being a decided departure from Warren’s previously recorded work, Blak Emoji reveals a songwriter, who can effortlessly craft a big, dance floor friendly hook.
Warren and company released their highly-anticipated full-length debut Kumi earlier this year and the album continues the slinky, Rick James meets Prince mold of his previously Blak Emoji work. Kumi’s latest single is the slinky, club banger “Love Lust Above.” Centered around layers of arpeggiated synths, thumping beats and Warren’s sultry vocal delivery, the track may arguably be the most sensual track off the album, bearing an uncanny resemblance to INXS’ “Need You Tonight.”
Directed by Jasin Cadic, the recently released and slickly shot video stars Maya Eley, Kristina Kiss, Ruth Gutierrez and Kelsey Warren further emphasizes the sultry, dance floor friendly vibe of the song. At one point, we see Warren getting painted by a love interest, as two shadowy figures convulsively dance in the background.