Durand Jones & The Indications
American Love Call
Dead Oceans/Colemine Records
I have been a fan of Durand Jones since I first heard him. I believe he has the most naturally powerful voice of the decade or longer, and having seen him perform (at the Meteor Room in New York City) I can tell you with assurance; his live performance will stir your soul.
With baited breath (I hate that idiom) I cued up my advance copy of “American Love Song”. The first track “Morning in America” has a nice moody feel to it, accurately expressing Durand’s lyrical mission in the song. He seems to be holding back, brooding, which fits the piece nicely. The band holds down a sick groove and it finishes with Blake Rhein’s fuzz-filled guitar solo, capping off the dark American statement.
Next up is a catchy little ditty “Don’t You Know”, which is their first single. This one has Durand and
Aaron Frazer (Drums) serving up falsetto harmonies and some nice call and answer work. Cool vintage effects and an accordion appearance surprise the listener and keep shit interesting. Neat.
The album continues with rich harmonies, layered strings and a real ’60s-’70s era sound in the best of ways. Grooves and amazing production (their first album sounded incredible and only cost $500 to make) are a hallmark of The Indications’ recordings, which always makes listening a pleasure. The new album takes on a much dreamier Smokey Robinson-like feel, largely due to thick layered recordings and Frazer’s vocals appearing much more prominently than on the previous record.
I find myself desperately switching track to track, trying to find a piece that really showcases Durand Jone’s amazing voicebox and sadly come up short. This album is an accomplishment; it is chock full of beautiful arrangements, wonderful players and some truly great hooks. If honeydripper tunes are your thing, “American Love Call” is positively gushing. It is a definite departure from the Redding/Brown energy that was radiating off the first album.
Maybe I am spoiled. I have been fortunate enough to meet the band. They are such a humble and honest bunch of guys, and their live show is beyond inspiring to witness. It will be interesting to see how this new album translates live. Writing this review in a non-biased way is admittedly difficult, as I will always be armchair producer. But seriously check out the tones. “Listen to your Heart” is a headphone wonderland. Do I hear Flugle horn? It is a beautiful album.
All that said, I am desperately searching for the dragon to be unleashed and just can’t seem to settle in to the mellow grooves of this album. Durand is just such a gifted singer, I would have loved to hear him featured more prominently. Such is the art. I am sure Durand and the band have created something that they can be super proud of, an accurate recording of their current vision. I however will keep holding my breath for the next one; the one that unleashes the absolute beast of a Soul singer that the humble Mr. Jones most certainly is.
SPILL ALBUM REVIEW: DURAND JONES & THE INDICATIONS – AMERICAN LOVE CALL