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Singletary; Marcus: Smokin'

Putting aside the picture on the CD cover which gives the impression that Marcus Singletary is some sort of bandit on the run - and the rather dark music it suggests, once you delve into this rather short album the feeling is altogether lighter and more joyful than the image suggests. If your musical memory stretches back to the Seventies, then there's a good chance that you'll find something, if not rather a lot to enjoy on Singletary's Smokin', with everything from classic rock to disco, boogie to funk and jazz to pop making an appearance. As that list alludes to, the influences blur past thick and fast through the songs, but rather cleverly the end results manage to avoid sounding too close to any one band in particular.

Want some glam tinged classic rock? Then fire on "Can It Be Real" where Bolan is hinted at. Looking for something altogether more flower powery? Well "Meditate" floats by exactly as its title suggests. Both of these tracks also highlight the wonderful vocal performances and intricate arrangements that make Smokin' an interesting and rewarding journey, while the likes of the funked up and uber catchy "Get The Dance Gene" and the sweet melodious pop of "Farmer" have you humming their hook line for days on end, with the latter actually being the strongest song on offer here.

Across the whole album what really strikes you is the insistent beats and classy performances, with the horn section which includes flute, trombone, sax and trumpet adding greatly to the authenticity and scope of the music. Chet McCracken and Cliff Starbuck on drums and bass respectively have you heaving your ass around the room in the most unsightly of manners with the incisive and considered rhythms, which leaves Singletary to handle everything else, including guitars, keyboards, Theremin and vocals, as well as producing the album. He does all of these to great effect, with bright guitar work interacting beautifully with the brass, but allowed space to breathe thanks to an excellent, sympathetic production. The best example of how all the different areas are brought together comes in the shape of "Misty Morning" where the band really stretch out and let fly bouncing off each other and thriving on the energy they creates. Not everything works to the same level though, with "Psychedelic People" meandering for far too long before reaching the point and "Drop Of A Hat" requiring just an ounce more energy to make it as memorable as it could be, although the bright and breezy "You Could Be Lucky" closes the album out in fine, uplifting style.

Smokin' is quite a bold undertaking and any album that doesn't rely on an overly familiar sound for success these days is to be applauded. It may not all come off to the high standard of the best material presented here, but when it does Smokin' is an impressive beast and well worth investigating.


Track Listing
1. Can It Be Real
2. Meditate
3. Get The Dance Gene
4. Misty Morning
5. Psychedelic People
6. Farmer
7. Drop Of A Hat
8. You Could Be Lucky

Added: July 10th 2011
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score:
Related Link: Marcus Singletary
Hits: 1486
Language: english

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