Nick Hakim’s penchant for psychedelic soul and swirling, sliced-up pop already won fans over on his 2017 debut, Green Twins. Now, the Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter is back to embody the fundamental feeling of being so high in love that it feels like you’re soaring, an idea that frames his breezy new album, Cometa.
Throughout Cometa — the Spanish word for kite — Hakim builds upon the neo-soul and vocal jazz of his previous albums and warps them through a lens that is equal parts psychedelic and melancholic. It results in 10 dizzying songs that evoke the hazy mix of emotions of stumbling upon romance. Take “Happen,” one of the singles off Cometa, which compares falling in love to a galactic-scale boom. “Her supernova exploded/and changed my world,” Hakim sings, wrapped around the thump of earthy percussion and a flurry of psychedelic organs.
The 10 songs on Cometa — some of which contain welcome contributions from the indie pop maestro Helado Negro — thrive in critical contrast to Hakim’s overstated emotions delivered through whispered remarks. “Vertigo” exists in the frontier between feel-good soul music and murky, self-deprecating lo-fi rock. Hakim, whose parents grew up in Latin America, begs whoever is in charge to “Slow down/Make this moment last,” as if admitting that the mere idea of departing from his paramour gives him a vertigo spike.
Cometa’s dreamy dispatch comes through in ragged outlines that nonetheless become sonic treats. Its groovy low-ends match Hakim’s hushed vocals and tinkling-yet-entrancing synthesizers. All in all, Hakim’s most splendid triumph is how, even for its subtleties, listening to Cometa corresponds to the familiar, floating sensation of being in love.