JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound Howl

JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound Howl
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The rise of Daptone Records has done much to further the cause of soul musicians everywhere, yet it's understandable that the label's commitment to vintage sounds isn't the approach everyone is comfortable with. Case in point is Chicago, IL's JC Brooks, who on this follow-up to 2011's Want More, made the unconventional move of hooking up with Arcade Fire/Wolf Parade producer Howard Bilerman at his Hotel2Tango studio in Montreal. The results are a sleek and, at times, powerful combination of old and new, with strong echoes of Al Green's classic Hi Records sound. At the same time, tracks such as "Security" display strong modern pop hooks, confirming that a contemporary soul band don't necessarily need the trappings of a horn section or Hammond organ to get their point across. While Howl falls squarely into a no man's land between soul and pop, Brooks's smooth style ultimately proves refreshing. (Bloodshot)