Thursday, 19 February 2009

Heston - Storyteller

Now, this is one album that you will really, really want. Recently credited as releasing one of the truly great soul albums of 2008, and having accolades of being a 'musician's musician' and 'a poised modern day soul vocalist', Heston, releases his d├ębut album. Born in the Dominican Republic, raised in Philadelphia and now based in Atlanta, Georgia, you may recall that this phenomenal talent released a self-titled EP back in 2004 which featured the superb “If” which appeared on Soul Brother's “This Is Soul 2005”. 2008 sees this new album and for what it's worth I think it surpasses all that has gone before, for the most part, at least. And that's saying something! I defy you to NOT love this album, that's how I feel about it. So expansive is his talent and appeal, Heston is able to draw many an admirer, and appeal to many different ears. The UK scene will especially pick up on tracks such as “My Baby” with it's slight Jamiroquai / Remy Shand feeling, the feel-good '70s flavour of “Distant Lover” and the cosmic and spaced out “Easy” - all wonderful songs, I think you'll agree. By track three you are more than aware of how much a strong showcase it really is and on the strength of these I'd recommend the set to you. For those who are a bit more open minded than I, there is even a reggae vibe on here for those who are so inclined! Not for me per se BUT should please a number of fans! I loved the first three aforementioned tunes, as I say, but I have to say that I was totally floored by the beautiful “No Way No How” which is a top-draw ballad of the highest order. The sexy bassline is firmly the governor rhythm and the squeaky guitar, warm 70s keys, percussion and vibes provide the perfect basis for Heston's vocals to drip some seriously soulful honey. Furthermore, “Your Perfume” is another killer of equal standing. An artist like this really showcases their talents on songs like this. Most of the manufactured and cloned major label pin-ups cannot even come close to being able to perform to this standard. Heston towers above most and his confident, relaxed and effortless performance does him, and modern soul music proud. The blinding “Radio” will have you singing along very quickly with a powerful and catchy chorus. By this point in the album I am already more than a devotee, but the quality continues unabated. “Sumthing In The Water” is a lively, percussive finger-tapper as is the excellent spacey 70s-ish “Sunny Days”. Fans of Angela Johnson will rejoice as she appears on “Dreamy Eyes”, laced with organ and 70s influences, this song will do the business on radio. An essential release.

Barry Towler

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