Even more by-the-numbers than his debut, Avant’s Ecstasy draws on the proven formulas of his fellow R&B crooners. Slow jams like “Don’t Say No, Just Say Yes” and “Thinkin’ About You” recall the smoother Brian McKnight while the album’s biggest mishaps surface when Avant mistakes himself for R. Kelly. Penned by the singer with Chicago-based producer Steve Huff, tracks like “Jack & Jill” fall flat lyrically: “I’ll be Jack and you can be Jill/I wanna carry you up my hill.” Though the album’s packaging is littered with photos of Avant cavorting with multiple women, the singer indignantly confronts his cheating girlfriend on “You Ain’t Right”; it’s cliched at best (“Tell me where you were last night”) and asinine at worst (“You must take me for a fool/Thought you could walk on me like a shoe”). But Ecstasy is not without its shining moments. Lead single “Makin’ Good Love” and “Call On Me” pump new life into their R&B clichés with sexy guitar riffs and heavy, measured beats while the surprisingly earnest “Sorry” proves that Avant is, at the very least, less pompous than Kelly.
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