Monday, 23 February 2009

Noel Gourdin - After My Time

No, this is not the same person who played the loveable Meg Mortimer in Crossroads! At least, if it is then she's certainly changed career path as well as sex! Lol. Anyway, joking aside, Noel is a name that we are all familiar with, and this new effort is one that should not disappoint, even if it is not as strong as a number of other releases about at the moment. Noel effortlessly straddles a classic sound along with a programmed Y2K flavour. The first song, “Better Man”, works very well in this respect, and adds more fuel to the soulful retro fire that currently burns. “Hurts Like Hell” compliments that song well but with its roots firmly into today's marketplace. “I Fell” panders more to a youthful R&B audience, but still manages to hold it's head up above the water, and to me does not even compare to tracks such as the Stevie Wonder early 70s inspired “Make The Most” - a timely cautionary song reminding us to love and appreciate those in our lives now. An excellent cut, and the following groove turns into something more akin to Jam & Lewis with “One Love”. The voice is, perhaps, too electronic and warbly but as a whole the track is good and is something I could imagine someone like Lionel Richie approaching.
As far as modern cuts go, I think the best for me is “Reach”. Quite a simple composition but in keeping with what's going down today. If that's too mechanical for your liking I suggest you head immediately to the excellent “Sorry” which has that tasty, if subtle, jazzy edge. The beats clonk away but is carried away excellently. I have to say that I love this track and the way Noel organises his vocals is very well done indeed. The sexually motivated “Summertime” is the sort of thing we'd expect on a major label album but the lyrics are far more intelligent than that. Musically not on par with some recent releases, but still worthwhile. I prefer the final cut, “Too Late”, which does the business very much indeed. This really is good, and reminds me of the better tracks off of Babyface's last decent release, “Face2Face”, back in 2001. Noel has a great voice and we all know he can cut the mustard. Fans will be very happy I am sure, but with such stiff competition I think the wise money will be on the likes of Little Anthony, Liquid Spirits and Jazzanova. However, don't overlook the set as it definitely has it's moments.

Barry Towler