Who could refuse a smile like that, eh?…
Jonathan Bogart: I did not expect to hear a roots reggae ballad that reminded me of Grizzly Bear, but there are so many strange and marvelous things in this world.
Martin Skidmore: I’d not heard him before, and I really like his smooth, sweet reggae voice, harking back to some of my favourites of decades ago. I’m not sure I like the extremely plinky piano on this, and I hope he gets some lovelier production at some point, but this is still a beautiful and cool love-song performance.
Chuck Eddy: Languorous reggae. At first I thought the languor might even be sweet; now leaning toward “really dull.” Points are more for those tinkling sounds.
Michaelangelo Matos: This has a weird sort of aural transparency. Whether on headphones or through speakers, this sounds somewhat vague and ignorable, but it’s equally listenable; you notice the tint it gives the room. So maybe I mean that it is an aural transparency, as in the colored gels you put on stage lights.
Mallory O’Donnell: Lovers rock distilled to the elegant simplicity of a Picasso doodle. Gyptian’s vocals are far too mellow to give it enough contrast, but someone out there will tear this riddim apart.
Pete Baran: A striking opening which Gyptian’s loose flow absolutely capitalises on. I don’t think I have heard a record that sounds so effortless and yet full for quite some time, and have an irresistible urge to make babies to it (UPDATE: Resisted, luckily for London).
Alex Macpherson: Sometimes emotion strikes most true and heartfelt when it’s slushy and sentimental, and that’s why “Hold Yuh” is the dancehall hit of this year. The riddim is barely there, just a delicate, tactile piano riff and a lilt that rocks you ever so gently, but Gyptian fills the space with tenderness that squeezes you tight. It’s brought the best out in others, too: it’s gratifying to see Nicki Minaj return to her Caribbean roots and provide a tough, clipped counterpoint to Gyptian, though the best thing about her remix is the way she softly hums along to the chorus in the background; Lady Chann finds a reflective gear that’s all the more effective for being the total opposite of her usual rambunctiousness; and Shani‘s straightforward response is just sweet.
Mark Sinker: An arrangement that directs you forward — a kind of boxed-in reverse dub, cold spiky piano, bass twisted down to a mumbled cipher, later drums in tight gated loop — with a ribbon of vocal that lazes its gorgeous way out of all of 40 years of reggae history, and Caribbean folk before that, a song of the love of the feel of love more than half murmured to itself.
Anthony Easton: Smooth as shit thru a goose.