Tim Fontaine recreates the thrill of a teenage crush on Cherry Lips, a cruisey love song that serves as the Brisbane singer’s sophomore single.
Coasting on pulsating percussion and an irresistible slow groove, the track brims with the intimacy of staple R&b.
Like Daniel Caesar and Steve Lacy before him, Fontaine delivers rich vocals that slink acrobatically around the beat, giving Cherry Lips a distinctly sultry feel.
To fill the shoes of those two artists is no small feat, but Fontaine’s command of the production puts him squarely in the echelons of his peers. While it is undeniably textured and multilayered, Cherry Lips slithers by with a sense of breezy simplicity.
The repetitive rhythms coax you into a seductive reverie, as punctuated by the warmth of guitar and subtle cymbal clashes.
While a lesser artist might’ve rested on this sparse production alone, Fontaine enriches the track with an array of ear-catching flairs that add detail and complexity.
Of course, Fontaine’s vocals add this complexity in their own right — flitting from airy heights to layered backing melodies with finesse.
Here, the singer delivers a slow cadence with the energy of a whispered lullaby, deepening a sound that could’ve otherwise become too repetitive.
Later, Fontaine introduces an electric guitar section that transitions Cherry Lips into new territories, showcasing his sonic versatility.
But even beyond the vocals and production, Fontaine leaves room for Cherry Lips to paint a picture, including a mid-track phone call sample that creates a scene while also sketching the track’s storytelling potential.
Fittingly for a song that delivers the sonic equivalent of a sunlit memory, Cherry Lips looks back fondly on the innocence of teenage romance, as Fontaine recalls his muse’s smile and a resulting crush that “feels like yesterday.”
Fontaine litters evocative images like this all throughout Cherry Lips — from coastal road trips to “caramel glow[s]” — with the result being a rich portrait of love; one painted with tenderness and vulnerability.
It’s a level of candid lyricism you’d expect from an artist with years of experience, but Cherry Lips is especially impressive given that it is only Fontaine’s second-ever release.
What all of it points to is an artist who is just getting started, and whose breakout moment is not a matter of if, but when. Listen to Tim Fontaine’s new single Cherry Lips below.