Thursday, March 14, 2019

Album Review: Durand Jones & the Indications - American Love Call

Durand Jones & the Indications's new LP is a direct continuation of their debut, which is good news since the self-titled record was one of the best releases of 2016. This new set finds them a little more polished perhaps, and their sound a little more ornate, but at the core are the same honesty and authenticity.

The first thing that strikes the listener is the absolutely gorgeous voice of Durand Jones. On opening number Morning In America, a great soul protest song in the tradition of Marvin Gaye and Sam Cooke, he sounds just like a young Bobby Womack.

The whole album feels like an old school R n' B record from the late sixties: huh strings, classy horns,  funky backbeat, subtle percussions, even a flute here and there... and that warm, analog sound. There is nothing ostentatious here: no over-singing, no fake drama in the delivery, no over the top virtuosity, even the gorgeous voices are just an efficient showcase for the real star of the record: the feel.

If I had to pick one song it would be the first single Long Way Home, not just the best song on the album but one of the best soul songs ever recorded, period. Just a perfect, evident song that sounds like it's always existed.

My only gripe would be an absence of harder, faster numbers like Groovy Baby or Tuck n' Roll from the first album but it's a small complain: those torch songs are absolutely sublime, and if they do take us back several decades, these guys are no revivalists: they're traditionalists.

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