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Anderson .Paak’s second album in six months distinguishes itself from its predecessor by being looser and warmer, despite being recorded at the same time. The soothing soul palette is back, this time coloring love songs and their sweet nothings, and Paak settles into his old polished grooves in search of comfort.

Unlike the Internet, whose genre hybrids are seamless, or Smino, whose future-funk and soulful raps are effortlessly malleable, Paak’s songs can be traced directly back to their sources: the funk rock of Parliament-Funkadelic, the smooth, gliding strokes of Frankie Beverly & Maze, the glowing visions of Stevie Wonder, lush Dre-era G-Funk, the eclectic neo-soul of Sa-Ra. Above all, Ventura sounds like the work of someone intent on building on its predecessor; Paak’s tendency to supercharge the production for commercial appeal has been reined in, and the sound centres around an appealingly stripped-down take on mid-70s Philly soul. The string arrangements are a little less plush and satiny, the rhythm tracks toughened up, but there’s plenty of pillowy electric piano, wah-pedal guitar, and softly cooed backing vocals. There’s also guest appearances from Andre 3000 and Smokey Robinson! An album that plays to its author’s considerable strengths, Ventura has allowed .Paak to both evolve and remind us why we’ve always loved him in the first place.