Jaguar Wright Denials Delusions and Decisions

Philadelphia seems to be churning out an inordinate number of new artists to check for in recent years, and Jaguar Wright is no different. A veteran of the city's Black Lily shows, Wright has corralled some of the city's most prominent noisemakers for this project. Most of the members of the Roots, most significantly drummer Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson, are actively involved with the record, while producer Vikter Duplaix also appears. But as well as working with some of the city's present luminaries, Jaguar's most obvious influences come from before the '80s, and much of the album is recorded at the studio of Larry Gold, an original player in the purveying of the original Philly soul sound. The album runs the gamut of the emotions indicated in the title and Wright's powerful, versatile voice frequently overshadows her musical accompaniment. While she is vulnerable on standout tracks such as the Patti Labelle cover "Love, Need & Want You" and the cooing, irresistible "I Can't Wait," with Bilal, Wright's rugged frankness on display in the liner notes, as on the record, is when she's at her best. Usually as a reaction to being wronged, Wright's vocal performances on "The What Ifs" and "Same Sh*t Different Day" drip with acrimony. But as the nine-minute plus "Self Love" demonstrates, this apparent abrasiveness is always fuelled by good intentions. (Motive)