Love & War
If you wanted to insult Daniel Merriweathers debut album, you could call it Back to Black without all the personality. Like Winehouses game-changing album, Merriweathers is also drenched in Mark Ronsons nostalgic production with all its Sam Cooke spirit and '60s R&B sophistication. The big difference here is that the Australian, twenty-something Merriweather comes with no punkish attitude, and once you take away the appearance from rapper Wale, plus the slacker heartbreak number Getting Out (And now I cant get my ass off the couch because of you) youre left with a retro-soul effort that wont disrupt mom and dads date night. This more traditional throwback is more rewarding than it may seem, as Ronsons borrowing from the past is respectfully crafted here with warm strings and easy, swaying beats perfectly complementing this singers full-bodied voice. The key track, Impossible, is somewhere between a Bond theme and a deep cut from Terence Trent D'Arby, while the infectious Change gives the album just enough flash and punch with its easy hip-hop flavor. Big ballad Red sounds like the best number found on any given Hugh Grant rom-com soundtrack while Not Giving Up is a well-executed, uptempo fingersnapper that should make Jamiroquai jealous. If youre looking for a non-confessional alternative to Back to Black that wont take over the room, Love & War will serve that soulful purpose. ~ David Jeffries, Rovi
Track samples provided courtesy of iTunes
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