Van Hunt On the Jungle Floor

Though there’s very little to be had in terms of fresh and new today in R&B and soul — two genres that have a difficult time with progression — Dayton, OH-born Van Hunt proves you can still turn in an interesting and intensely creative full-length without breaking the mould. As a follow-up to Hunt’s Grammy-nominated yet quietly successful debut, On the Jungle Floor emits echoes of the genre’s more eccentric figureheads, as the singer combines his many influences into an open to close funk-out. Prince’s sleek sexiness bleeds through on album opener "If I Take You Home,” as Hunt lays down the funk that forms the album’s base, even as he diverges into Kravitz-style rock on tracks like "Being A Girl” and conjures up a little Morrissey for the synth pop toned "Hole In My Heart.” Despite its many sonic references, the album avoids simply recreating the past through the abundance of personality Hunt injects into each track, slinking his voice into the crevices and toying with all kinds of background sounds. It’s where a more focused and better-produced Cody ChesnuTT might have gone. (Capitol)