Stretching out

In the rush to find the next Macy Gray-Eryka Badu-Lauryn Hill, Res (pronounced “Reese”) seems to have fallen through the cracks.

While India.Arie and Alicia Keys occupy the clichéd spotlight, Res quietly arrives with one of the rocking-est R&B albums set to digital.

Res isn’t content to just paint within the urban lines — she draw as much from rock and other music as she does soul and hip-hop

“Golden Boys” traffics in the kind of grandiose string-and-timpani arrangements more akin to David Fridmann’s work with the Flaming Lips and Mercury Rev than to Marvin Gaye. “They-Say Vision” hums along with a backbeat that feels closer to 70s rock bands than to 70s souls bands.

“Ice King” may have a hip-hop beat driving it, but the underlying, haunting guitar hook sounds more Latin. Dub rhythms ease their way onto “If There Ain’t Nothing” and “700 Mile Situation”. Res even goes so far as to sample the Cure’s “Other Voices” on “Let Love”.

Such flourishes makes more traditional R&B tracks — “The Hustler”, “Sittin’ Back”, “I’ve Known the Garden” — feel even more grounded.

As a singer, Res can hold her own against everyone else in her peer group, but she can stretch when she needs to — especially on the more rock-influenced tracks.

She’s forceful on “Golden Boys” but sweet on “Ice King”. She dominates on “How I Do” but draws in on “Tsunami”.

Urban music fans will find a lot to like about Res, and more importantly, people who can’t stand R&B will find Res positively appealing.

How I Do is bold, proof positive that urban music doesn’t need to be ghettoized in its own section of a record store.