01 October 2010

Radio Ponsonby Record Review: Aloe Blacc 'Good Things'

Good Things
[Stones Throw]

There's this style of music which has been around for a minute or two, but which is currently being referred to as "throwback", "vintage", "retro", or some other dismissive term loosely, lazily applied by someone who really should - but probably doesn't - know better.

The intention is to belittle the target because it's not "moving music forward". Hello? Is dubstep really some amazing evolutionary advance...?

Don't get me wrong, I ilke a jolly good sub-bass wobble as much as the next degenerate, but I'm pretty sure I'm not just being old-fashioned when I opine that two of the most basic human musical needs in song are "good rhythm" & "catchy melody". If you can combine the two, in any genre of music, I'll wager you're onto a winner.

Ladies & Gentlemen, I give you Good Things, the 2nd album from Californian native, Aloe Blacc, which has both of those aforementioned qualities in spades - and just so happens to sound as though it could've been recorded in some smoky lil, late-at-night backstreet studio during the early '70s.

Vintage? 2010. Region? Straight West Coastin', USA. On the palate? A big soul & a whole lotta heart...

With thoughtfully arranged & exceptionally executed musicianship courtesy of Truth & Soul Records' main men Jeff Silverman & Leon Michels; and Aloe's captivating voice delivering deep lyricism advocating positive social change, while never shying from the reality of America right now; Good Things has all the hallmarks of a lasting classic like What's Going On, or Innervisions.

I'm going to mention names like Bill Withers, Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye, Sharon Jones & Lee Fields, just to give you a peg to hang your jacket on while you're shaking your backyard on the dancefloor to the sleeper hit of the summer, I Need A Dollar.

Never mind which vintage Aloe Blacc occupies. Some Good Things are timeless. Here's one.

In A Nutshell: imagine Bill, Curtis & Marvin making moves with Gnarls Barkley
Nyntee's Rating: NINE smooth operators out of TEN

Check out the Radio Ponsonby Record Review with 90, on Murry Sweetpants' Breakfast Show every Wednesday around 8.25am, on 107.7FM. Thanks to the Longroom!

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