Athavale Devoted

There’s something about Winnipeg, MB-based Erik Athavale’s (pronounced Ah-Tuv-Lay) debut album that gets under your skin. It’s certainly not original — Athavale wears influences like Jay Kay and Shuggie Otis on his sleeve. The bottom line is that Devoted is at most times an irresistible collection of pop soul. Opening track "Beautiful” is a pleasant down-tempo jam that allows Athavale to stretch out and showcase his dry as ice vocals. The title track is a fine funk-lite jam that should rock a few hip house parties this holiday season. Where Devoted goes wrong however, is with rock-influenced songs like "Nothin New” and the way too syrupy "The Night We Met,” the first single from an album that hopefully will generate much worthier hits. Athavale’s press release describes him as a "performer in progress.” That is indeed true but the overall quality of Devoted will leave many a listener with a sense of anticipation. (Ten Doors)