Induce Halfway Between Me and You

InduceHalfway Between Me and You
For his third offering, Miami, FL's Induce (aka Ryan Smith) has pulled off nothing short of a reinvention. Known mainly as a DJ, and for offbeat instrumental hip-hop offerings like 2005's Cycle, Halfway Between Me and You is his first effort to feature vocals and accessible song structures, and it wears its classic soul influences on its sleeve. Not that this is an indulgent, retro-minded affair. Traces of Marvin Gaye, Prince, New Edition and Jodeci, among others, are present, but are filtered through Induce's idiosyncratic and astute sensibilities, not to mention a killer vocal style that fuses Don't Be Cruel-era Bobby Brown with the blue-eyed soulfulness of Bobby Caldwell. The cover of Oliver Cheatham's oft-sampled 1983 boogie classic, "Get Down Saturday Night," ups the funk factor with some slamming Miami bass, while the Prince-inspired "Pretty," with its rubbery rhythm and off-kilter analog synth touches, sounds like a Controversy outtake. "Her & I" tweaks Arthur Baker's '80s New Edition productions with a slowed down, wayward groove. Although Induce confesses, "80-percent of the album was influenced by a break-up," Halfway Between Me and You is big-time party music, and the production, by the likes of Jack Splash and Manuvers, is crisp and tight. Wonderful sounds, indeed. (The Wonderful Sound)