Album review | R&B

Theophilus London, ‘Vibes’

Brooklyn-based polymath Theophilus London is either unaware of or hostile toward the struggles that R&B has been having in the commercial marketplace, and it’s for the better; his second album is confident and hooky, spanning funk and reggae and psych. The “Vibes” within are hardly chill — “What’s there when we all die?” he asks on the album’s opening track, “Water Me” — but London’s mad-scientist approach, exhibited by his melding of genres and minor galaxy of guest stars, results in more than enough pleasure to go around. “Neu Law” speeds along like a joyride in KITT; Kanye West (credited as the album’s executive producer) parachutes into “Can’t Stop” in Yeezus mode; soul legend Leon Ware adds flair to the space-funk jam “Need Somebody.” London saves the best for last with “Figure It Out,” with nouveau-soul producer Devonte Hynes and storied vocal group Force MD’s; it brings to mind the type of quiet storm R&B made for inspiring shivers, whether the listener’s alone or with a close friend. (Out Tuesday) MAURA JOHNSTON

ESSENTIAL “Figure It Out”

Maura Johnston can be reached at maura.johnston@gmail.com. Follow her on Twitter @maura