Charles Bradley Victim of Love

Charles BradleyVictim of Love
If the buzz around soul singer Charles Bradley represents the feel-good musical success story of late, someone needs to tell Bradley about it. "Right now I'm still in my solitude on that," he says in that distinct gravelly voice. "And I'm still kind of struggling to get where I want to be at." And if 2011's No Time For Dreaming was the dark soul introduction, this year's Victim of Love is the light heart of the matter, a raw and psychedelic look at soul from the vintage perspective of "the Screaming Eagle of Soul." More than merely a soul revivalist, the former James Brown impersonator delivers a deeply honest and straightforward record, backed by his highly capable Menahan Street Band and slathered with the now trademark Daptone retro-soul sauce. It's a solid project, but at the same time it's plainly evident that Brooklyn, NY-based Bradley is pushing it all out there, not sure if this is his last chance. The end result is a slightly imperfect, yet deeply listenable album (see: "Strictly Reserved For You," "Love Bug Blues," "Confusion"), one that leaves you feeling that we're getting ever so closer, amidst the fuzzy bass lines, staccato horns and funk-drenched vocals, to hearing the true, unadulterated artist at work. Victim of Love is meant to be taken literally; it's a rare and continued opportunity for a sexagenarian to finally get his chance in the soulful sun. Something the album proves that he's both appreciative of and not taking lightly. (Dunham)