This year is one of solo stardom for the Bailey sisters. Coming to prominence as the R&B-pop duo Chloe x Halle, in May Halle will lead Disney’s live-action remake of The Little Mermaid, while this month sees the release of Chlöe’s debut LP, In Pieces. As Chloe x Halle, the Baileys developed a radio-friendly R&B sound anchored by their dextrous vocal runs, maturing from the teen romance narratives of 2018’s The Kids Are Alright to the playful sensuality of 2020’s Ungodly Hour. Across the 14 tracks of In Pieces, Chlöe now pushes further into nocturnal R&B, with mixed results.
With most tracks running under three minutes, the uptempo percussive focus of Body Do and the bass-forward Worried offer pleasing glimpses of Chlöe’s potential to pen earworming hits. Yet when songs slow into the string swells of Make It Look Easy or the guitar-strumming Looze U, they become a muddied mix. Features from Chris Brown, Missy Elliott and Future all fail to add much spark, with Elliott’s Told Ya wasting her hyperactive lyricism on a plodding beat. Ultimately, this is a fragmented listen – the sound of Bailey attempting to find her feet and stumbling as much as she succeeds.