Warren Dean Flandez Vintage Love

There's a temptation to be cynical towards an artist like Warren Dean Flandez and his debut album, Vintage Love. It seems like every month there's a young Turk being touted as the next Marvin Gaye or Donny Hathaway, hyped as the one who's alchemically fused those oft-revered sounds of soul's past with its Auto-Tuned, digitally processed troubled present. More often than not, the result is an underwhelming and over-hyped hodgepodge. The good news is that the Yellowknife-born, Vancouver-based Flandez has soul to burn. You may cringe at the album's introduction when he proclaims, "I'm unlike anyone you've ever seen," but the cat immediately redeems himself with the infectious, hook-laden, funky "Baby, Baby, Baby (I'm Checkin' In)" and the tasteful duet with Divine Brown, "Ungrateful," which are excellent showcases for his more than competent and refreshingly mature vocals. If he overextends himself on a cover of the Hollies' "He Ain't Heavy" (Donny Hathaway's version was touchingly melancholic, while Flandez's treatment is schmaltzy), such a misstep is forgiven on a promising debut. (30)