All the subtle variations on Kem’s sound -- his exceptionally smooth adult contemporary R&B, modern quiet storm that has earned the singer two gold-selling albums -- add up to a set that doesn’t sound like a mere rehash of his past successes. While Intimacy features his familiar gentle, less-is-more touch throughout, it’s more forwardly sensual -- skillfully so, without being too brash or overt for his audience -- and upfront all-around, from the romantic material to the odes to mothers and inner peace. On Kemistry and Album II, there often was a slight distance to Kem’s voice, both sonically and lyrically, but there is no such air of mystery here.
Get comfortable, turn the lights low, and let Kem tell you how just much he loves and/or misses you. The arrangements on his third LP embody the title’s Intimacy, complementing his honeyed vocals with gentle acoustic strumming, soft taps on a snare drum, and occasional understated keyboard and brass lines. Cynics may carp that the album would benefit from a touch more variety, but if you’re in the right mood, you won’t mind.