Producer of the moment Adrian Younge has succeeded in creating the most unexpected (yet welcome) comeback of the year. Teaming up with a couple of the surviving members of The Delfonics (especially William Hart who dominates here), he has crafted a fantastic musical throwback around their aching, emotional, urgent vocals.
As I wrote not too long ago here http://www.rgdinmalaysia.blogspot.com/2013/02/the-motown-sound-vs-philadelphia-sound.html, the Philadelphia sound distinguished itself with a rich sound full of strings, perfect harmonies, and hook driven songs. What Younge has created here builds on that by slicing it up into powerful short snippets of focused pop. The end result reminds me not just of Philly soul but of the album Elvis Costello made with Burt Bacharach PAINTED FROM MEMORY.
Like MEMORY, the generous and sumptuous arrangements follow the vocals hanging on every word. Little musical touches are like oil paints filling in the gaps of a painting – a fuzz guitar on Enemies, a sitar on Life Never Ends. To call this music old fashioned is to admit what a great loss it is that there are not more tunes like this being released now. Hopefully, this will start a trend. Would the remaining members of The Stylistics consider getting back together in the studio?
Every song is a classic. My faves so far – Stop and Look (And You Have Found Love), Silently, Party’s Over, Life Never Ends.