Harry Connick Jr.: Every Man Should Know (Columbia)
The prolific Harry Connick Jr. has more or less placed aside his usual jazz leanings for an album of all-original singer/songwriter tunes.
Of course Connick’s love of New Orleans music is never far away as can be heard on the light funk of Friend Going Home with its funereal street choir.
Meanwhile, Branford Marsalis blows his sax on the saloon crooner Let Me Stay, while Wynton Marsalis plays his trumpet on the breezy lite jazz of Being Alone.
But on songs such as Come See About Me and S’ppossed To Be (a duet with Kim Burrell) Connick comes off sounding more like a mellowed out James Taylor.
And Connick even dips his toe in some country music with Greatest Love Story that features fiddle, pedal steel, mandolin and zydeco accordion while he also offers up a warm and credible samba shuffle with I Love Her.
Some have complained that Connick sounds a little too sappy on Every Man Should Know re: “to treasure her love until yer dying day” but I’ll bet old fans will be happy nonetheless.
Quadron: Avalanche (Vested/Epic)
Quadron is the Danish duo of singer Coco O. and multi-instrumentalist Robin Hannibal which are both stage names so that info isn’t particularly useful.
But this duo has been courting fame for a few years collaborating with up and coming acts like Parallel Dance Ensemble, Boom Clap Bachelors and Canada’s own Rhye (Mike Milosh).
More importantly, Quadron have seen their profile greatly increase in North America by their contributions to the blockbuster film soundtracks The Great Gatsby and Think Like A Man and it is widely expected that this sophomore album, titled Avalanche, will put Quadron in the limelight.
This is a lovely collection of avant smooth R&B with judicious use of synth, keys and horns.
There is no dud on this 10-track CD highlighted by the electro-dance track Hey Love that is very radio-friendly, while Crush is sensuous and quietly hooky.
My fave track is Sea Salt that is redolent of the Pet Shop Boys/Dusty Springfield hit Nothing Has Been Proved, from the superb Scandal soundtrack of 24 years ago.
There is a cool and quiet sophistication to these heady pop/R&B concoctions that seems nearly effortless with its understated synth accents.
An act to watch.
Beady Eye: Be (Sony)
This is the highly anticipated second album from Beady Eye—basically the Liam Gallagher-led Oasis without truculent brother (and Oasis’ main songwriter) Noel G.
Song credits here are shared by all members and they have come up with a very strong set of songs that rivals any of Oasis’ latter day albums.
Beady Eye are also open to a lot of new ideas on BE. They experiment with some retro Madchester (sic) dance rock of Shine A Light that heavily borrows a Bo Diddley beat, while Iz Rite is a pure pop giddy love song.
The lads break into a litle Mersey jangle rock on I’m Just Saying using Dylan phrasing while the extended outro to Don’t Bother Me dabbles in some trance electronica.
My pick is Second Bite Of The Apple that unapologetically borrows from The Zombies’ nugget Time Of The Season.
Fans should note the Deluxe Edition with four demo sounding songs and a wide angle album cover model that extends right down to her areola.