Friday, 19 February 2010

Russell Taylor - Confessional - 2010

From Philadelphia we have Russell Taylor with his sophomore effort, "Confessional". This album is, to be honest, more of a mainstream urban and youthful styled R'n'B album than you would expect to see on here (albeit classier than the usual drivel spewing out from America) and as such I heartily include it here fr your esteemed consideration. I especially highlight this CD for one particular track that I shall outline later! So...if you like the ultra-soulful vocals of Kenny Lattimore, Kem or Van Hunt, and are still young enough at heart to appreciate the more commercial musical edge of R Kelly or Ryan Leslie then this set will appeal to you. Being honest, much of the set doesn't appeal to me at all, as much of today's US R'n'B just doesn't have any appeal, but I can promise that there are a number of songs that stand out above all the others, and these remind me very much of the more adult side of Eric Benét's musical nature. The very first of these is the VERY George Nash inspired "Another Life". This is a great folow-on from the urban contemporary youthful effort, "Hands To Myself", and so comes highly recommended. The warm, soft setting is perfect for Russell's excellent vocals and it's tracks like these that really sort the men from the boys! The Juicy-Fruit-ish "Mad 1 More Night" is very much in today's youthful and whiskerless RnB bag - think Ryan Leslie, and it's Russell's vocals that help make this track stand out more than it otherwise would. The discordant, freaky synth is a nice touch to boot.

The piano-led "Way I Feel" is very sensitive indeed, and fans of Kenny Lattimore's more recent style will lap this little gem up. Van Hunt's style, too, is not dissimilar to this, and much can be found here to find engaging, deep and soulful. The SUPERB acoustic soul of "Blueprint" is totally gorgeous and ESSENTIAL. This song, and this song alone is enough to purchase this CD. If you loved songs like "Hurricane" or "India" by Eric Benét then this is one hell of an attraction for you. This song is far more elevated than the commercial, urban cuts which I find far less interesting. This is a totally different beast and well worth investing in. "Won't Go" is another nice effort, reminding me of India.Arie's "Little Things" which hides somewhere in the melody. This is texturally different and I think you'll love it! The final track, "Let Me Love You" holds real promise...musically we're in Kem territory and vocally in Eric Benét territory. It's the heavy guitar that may put a few readers off, but this listener actually appreciates this rough edge. Me? I LOVE It!! Something for everyone, and not to be overlooked.

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe