Calgary-based group Handmade lean into R&B on their newest single “Weightless”.
With their newest release “Weightless,” Handmade put the rhythm and blues into R&B, creating an unpretentious yet sophisticated track with its twinkling cymbals, cool guitar, and sensual heartbeat. Tenderness is abundant in this treasure of a track, indicating a new level of proficiency for a group that has been steadily improving with every new single drop.
Hailing from Calgary, the quintet– composed of Connor Mead taking charge on guitar, Elicia Bravo on the keys, Wil Moralda filling out the rhythm section on guitar, Bobby Henderson playing bass, and Tomas Lobos serving as the backbone on drums– have been steadily releasing jazzy diddies since their formal creation in 2018. This year, the group has been churning out reliably incredible singles that exhibit their ability to experiment while still maintaining a sense of levity. Handmade‘s newest release, “Weightless,” finds the group on even more solid footing, with clearer production, a more certain point of view, and Bravo‘s impeccable vocals earning a well-deserved spotlight.
The track introduces itself with a spiralling, smooth guitar riff pattering downward like raindrops on a roof. Soon, a grooving bassline and syncopated drum are added into the mix. Bravo sings, “Gettin’ a little older now / Guess that’s how it goes / Needed some gravity to realize.” Quickly, Mead joins in flawless harmony, “What you’re going through / Can’t imagine / But sometimes it seems like / All we say is / Can’t escape my own escape.” “Weightless” maintains a carefree smoothness throughout, even as the mood oscillates between sultry and gloomy. The band has a unique ability to turn bold choices into easy listening, and this airy mastery easily places Handmade among the likes of similar, experimental R&B acts like Los Angeles’ Moonchild or Melbourne’s Hiatus Kaiyote.
Despite their similarities to these formidable contemporaries, Handmade differentiate themselves with their ability to depict slippery emotions, with “Weighless” in particular exploring the empathy that comes when experiencing someone else’s sorrow. Bravo sings, “Sure have a way with words / Because how you talk / About feeling weightless / Since he’s gone.” Though not spelled out exactly, it’s clear that the lyrics allude to the difficulty of reaching someone who is grieving a loss of some kind. Bravo continues in her buttery voice, “Fills my head with noise / Try to sift through / Focus on the words / I have for you / I’ve had for you / I’ll have for you.” This last section, in particular, is a beautiful moment of poetry, especially as it’s accentuated by Bravo and Mead‘s pendulum-like harmonizations.
The group explains that “Weightless” is “a song about not having the right words for a friend who needs them.” This message is communicated in the track through more than just the lyrics, as the desperation for connection permeates through every soulful saxophone note, low harmony, and melancholy piano note. Just like their band name suggests, Handmade make music that sounds like it was created with thoughtfulness, care, and a lot of heart– like a gift from a friend who knows you better than you know yourself. Unwrap their latest present below.