Berlin (dpa) – This sound is a matter of taste or use: the vocals in Aaron Fraser’s debut album opener “You Don’t Wanna Be My Baby” are bright, weak, almost feminine. And the eleven songs that follow shape the sound of “Intro …” (Dead Oceans / Cargo) in a possibly polarizing way.
However, it quickly becomes apparent that this Baltimore pick, now a Brooklyn-based white musician (actually drummer) Falsetto, is a virtue of singing and a songwriter with depth. Reminiscent of a young Mick Hucknall aka Simple Red, who pursued a similar approach in the mid-80s with a high, androgynous voice and retro grooves, for example the brilliant ballad “Holding Back the Years”.
American Fraser certainly should not be looking for its role models in the British blue-eyed soul, but in great American acts like The Delonix, The Stylistics, Frankie Valli or Curtis Mayfield – the great misnomer of the souls of the 60s and 70s After years between. And the song content – whether funky in “bad news”, snapping fingers like “sweet girl” or sometimes with a certain closeness to disco, doo-wop or jazz – can be kept.
Because Fraser, who had already stood out as a collaborator with Durand Jones and the Indicants, had a wonderfully melancholy sound with brass, choir, warm keyboards and pounding bass to suit his body, voice or voice. And this is where another trump card of this wonderfully mature debut work comes into play: Dan Ourback, the front man of neo-blues rock world stars The Black Keys, as well as the band’s side project The Arcs.
The versatile musician from Nashville had already cultivated a very soulful style with the latter, so the chemistry with Fraser fits perfectly. “Aaron is just incredibly talented – someone who is very good at drums and can sing that way at the same time,” says the top producer and co-writer of most songs on “Intro …”. His hero pays back – praised with a retro soul of high class.
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