Olu Soul Catcher

Olu has the voice of an old soul. On his mellow debut, the singer’s engaging voice sounds world-weary, but his socially conscious lyrics aspire to optimistic ideals. Lead single “Baby Can’t Leave It Alone” addresses drug addiction, yet the acoustic “A Change” echoes the hope of Sam Cooke. Stuart Matthewman, known for his work with Sade, Maxwell and Sweetback, contributes his unmistakable feel to the proceedings. However, despite Olu’s well-meaning lyrical intentions and his experienced help, Soul Catcher suffers from a few problems. While his voice is very appealing, Olu intermittently sounds like a range of vocalists from Sting to Brian McKnight. His attempts at rapping on a few tracks, rather than adding to the message he is conveying, are distracting, sounding hackneyed and misplaced. There are some excellent individual tracks like the sumptuous “High Desert Woman ” but with the set’s languid pacing you could be forgiven for missing them. (Gee Street)