Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Maxwell - BLACKsummers'night - 2009 - Columbia

This man burst onto the scene back in 1996 with the BRILLIANT "Urban Hang Suite". A 90s masterpiece by any method of measurement or judgement. Neither of his albums that followed could beat that album, although both had their moments for sure. We've waited 8 years since "Now" and was the wait worth it? Well, I'm not too sure. I was buoyed by some commentary that this was back to his first album in style, but either I'm deaf or they're listening to the first album by accident! It's not what I was hoping for but it's still well worth a purchase. It's very radio friendly in places and edges towards rock a bit too much in places which does not really fit in with what I expected or hoped for. The opening song, "Bad Habits" is as soulful as you like and comes very much recommended. Maxwell really sounds great here and his sweet tenor fits the ethereal melody hand in glove. This is arguably in the same vein as "Urban Hang Suite" and you can tell that a lot of love, effort and thought have been put into this track.

My next pick, "Stop The World", really has a 70s vibe with a summer Y2K retro flavour. I really love this song and would be more than happy to part with the readies for this and the aforementioned song alone. "Cold" is bassy, funky and contains some tight horns. This is a good track and as tight as a snare drum but doesn't really compare to his better material. I recommend the Cd for these 3 tracks alone. As for the rest of the CD, please judge for yourself. I get the impression that Sony are trying to shove the man into a more Lenny Kravitz type of pidgeon-hole as the rest of the CD is rather...rocky...for my taste and I expect that this is probably great for the man getting wider exposure BUT it's not really my bag and suspect it won't be yours either. Please check out the album though and let your ears decide for yourself, don't take my word for it. Worth checking out as is a fairly inexpensive release - and you can also download the aforementioned songs if that's your choice. For me, though, to be open and honest, VERY disappointing
and a wasted opportunity.

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe

Buy on Amazon