- 15 Apr 19
Sweet Soul Music Second Time Around
This, the second album from Indiana soul merchants Durand Jones & The Indications, is a huge step forward from their first, released only twelve short months ago.
Whereas before their reach slightly exceeded their grasp, here they channel the ghosts of Philadelphia, Memphis and Curtis Mayfield & The Impressions to produce the proper, grown-up soul they only previously hinted at.
Now, far be it from Hot Press to claim any insight or prescience, but our previous review mentioned that “a string section here and there, and more backing vocals, would have made all the difference. Make no mistake, it’s good – but their next one will be better.” And, lo, so it has come to pass. Backing vocals and strings lift ‘Don’t You Know’, ‘Circles’ and most everything else here. They gleefully delve further back into soul history too: ‘Court Of Love’ is pure doo-wop, while ‘Too Many Tears’ or ‘How Can I Be Sure’ could pass for early Smokey Robinson & The Miracles – and it would be hard to dole out higher praise than that.
The Indicators have benefitted from a year on the road, as the tight grooves of ‘Listen To Your Heart’ and ‘What I Know About You’ attest, and the songwriting has come on in leaps and bounds too. ‘Morning In America’ casts a jaundiced eye over the state of the union: it’s a travelogue across the country – a soul ‘This Land Is Your Land’ if you will. “I think of my grandmother / How she told me to be strong / It’s morning in America / But I can’t see the dawn” – political soul fit to stand beside Marvin and Curtis in their heyday. This is the follow-up done properly, a triumphant second stab.