The new album from Durand Jones and The Indications, American Love Call, out tomorrow via Colemine Records and Dead Oceans, is an absolute blast of fresh air in an indie scene full of ironic posturing, or abject detachment. Seriously, the old-fashioned soulfulness of what's here on this record is stunning.
The band here -- Durand Jones (vocals), Aaron Frazer (drums, vocals), Blake Rhein (guitars), Kyle Houpt (bass), Steve Okonski (keyboards) -- manage to make songs that sound so wonderfully reminiscent of material from The Delfonics and Curtis Mayfield that a listener is at times gobsmacked. Stuff like "Too Many Tears" and "Walk Away" sound like The Stylistics and the legends of Philly soul, while "Morning in America" and "Long Way Home" echo Curtis and The Staple Singers, respectively, even down to their lyrical concerns. And while my raving here might indicate that this material is simple the sort of thing that only works if you know the original points of inspiration from the past, Durand Jones' natural and warm delivery makes all of this feel fresh, and virtually new.
I mean, I heard "Don't You Know" once last Fall and immediately added it to my Top 30 Tracks of 2018 List. And, yeah, that cut is just that good. Elsewhere, "Listen To Your Heart" serves up vocal group greatness with an obvious debt owed to acts of the doo wop era, while "How Can I Be Sure" is like Blue Magic and The Chi-Lites. So much of this works thanks to Durand Jones himself, which is not to ignore the players here but, rather, to indicate just what an extraordinary job Jones does with this kind of material.
There are a lot of great albums coming out in March but this, by a mile, is the one that will most touch the soul. American Love Call proves that modern acts are entirely capable of making music that is heartfelt and genuine, even on indie DIY terms. This is a great, great record.
[Photo: Rosie Cohe]