Philosopher Kings Castles

Having been on hiatus for nearly six years, you’d figured the Philosopher Kings would come back hungry. Instead, Gerald Eaton and the boys downplay their trademark R&B/soul/jazz edge in favour of an easy rock listening pop sound. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but pushing the envelope Castles is not. Make no mistake, PK’s rich songwriting and strong musicianship on the record are on point — "Castles in the Sand,” "Not That Man” and "Sweet Black Air” for proof. And Eaton’s vocals on tracks like "I Want You” and "Give Back the Love” show why he’s terribly underrated and underappreciated. But overall, it just seems that the Philosopher Kings have nothing left to prove and it shows. This album can be slipped into easy listening radio rotation and wouldn’t feel out of place. (Sony BMG)