Durand Jones & The Indications
Durand Jones & The Indications
Durand Jones’ first release is such a pleasure to listen to, and has instantly become a staple in my musical catalogue. Writing with Aaron Frazer (drums) and Blake Rhein (guitar) has awoken a soulful beast. The album is beautifully produced, mostly straight to tape from a basement in Indiana, and awash with sexy horn lines, hooky Funk guitar and perfectly placed organ pads. Even with all this great music that The Indications has to offer, Jones absolutely dominates the songs with his powerful, soulful and ever-evolving voice. Track by track, here are my impressions:
“Make a Change”
This is my personal favourite track. “Make a Change” opens with Frazer’s big, boomy kick drum that says, “I’m not fucking around here.” Tasteful guitar plinks and a nice organ pad fill the intro out. It all slides into the backbeat as Jones’ commanding voice swoons the first “Hold on, baby hold on.” Sounding like a young Marvin Gaye, Jones’ range and, for lack of a better word, “soul” make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck. Throw in a catchy chorus, meaningful lyrics and slick horn hooks, and I am jacked to see the video, which thankfully is coming soon. This song could really propel Jones upward in the ranks of modern Soul musicians, where a talent like him belongs.
As the title suggests, this tune has a little more bounce, a little more “sunny day” feel to it. However, as the lyrics unfold, the song is definitively tongue-in-cheek, more about the cruelness of the world and how we force ourselves to smile through it for others to see. “Smile” retains a certain optimism; if not through the lyrics then certainly through the music.
“Can’t Keep My Cool”
Great horn lines open up this soulful ballad. Jones has penned such a classic-sounding number here; this song sounds like something you’ve heard before but with a great and original twist.
Channeling James Brown, Jones pulls out all the stops on this one. This has all the power, feel and sound of real classic Funk. When this tune comes on, I want to boost the volume up to deafening levels and dance around like a maniac. Air drumming to Frazer’s solo on this track is totally acceptable in any venue.
A classic organ-filled break-up song, “Giving Up” is nicely written and has a cool lyrical twist. Jones continues to lay down the law with his incredible vocal presence. Jones always seems to know how to do what’s best for the song; doesn’t get in the way but never undermines his own presence either. His styles can vary tremendously, and are always on-point. This would be a great song to have cranked in your convertible Cadillac while speeding down a Nevada highway.
“Is it Any Wonder?”
Jones should be called “The Chameleon of Soul,” as he pulls off this Smokey Robinson-style love song with absolute confidence. There is a plethora of lovemaking music to be found on this album; just press play and break out the red wine, kids. Soul is synonymous with sex and its many different tempos and moods.
“Now I’m Gone”
This is my second favourite track on the album. A good strong fuck you to the past is always enjoyable, but what really grabs me here is Jones’ voice… he sounds 100 per cent like himself. Jones is so able to emulate styles of Soul-singing that perhaps he lost a tiny bit of himself in the process, but here it is. I have no doubt that he will continue to grow and find himself, and the result will be an unstoppable Soul machine.
“Tuck ‘N’ Roll”
A nice mostly instrumental piece is a great way to finish off the album, and this is a real showpiece for the fantastic musicians that Jones worked with on this album. Sweet and funky and reminiscent of The Meters, this is a really fun song that shows of the skills of organist Justin Hubler.
This album is a fantastic listen; I guarantee you will be hearing more from Durand Jones & The Indications. Keep your eyes peeled for their upcoming video for “Make a Change,” and for my upcoming interview with this insightful and gifted artist.
SPILL ALBUM REVIEW: DURAND JONES & THE INDICATIONS