Durand Jones & The Indications: American Love Call

John Bricker By

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Durand Jones & The Indications prove with American Love Call that the sounds of 1960s and '70s soul are as beautiful today as they were first time around. The group's second album has great songs, passionate performances and immaculate production.

"Morning in America" is an ambitious opener, establishing American Love Call's updated soul aesthetic while Durand Jones paints a bleak picture of American life, crooning that he "can't see the dawn" while "mourning in America." The song's simple mix of steady drums, soft keys and spacey guitar gradually intensifies, adding layers of horns and strings before closing with a gritty guitar solo from Blake Rhein.

Most of the songs avoid "Morning in America's" thematic heaviness, instead focusing on romance and heartbreak. "Don't You Know"'s shimmering guitars, echoey vocals, snappy drums, dueling horn and string sections and Aaron Frazer's Smokey Robinson-esque performance evoke a powerful atmosphere. Frazer's shrill vocals complement the smooth backing harmonies, while Jones' soulful grit adds urgency to the track's lovesick lyrics. "How Can I Be Sure" stands out as another shining moment for Frazer, where his breezy vocals soar over layers of horns, pizzicato strings and icy glockenspiel. The track builds into a cathartic outro with hand claps, smooth rhythm guitars and Frazer's spacey howling.

"Listen to Your Heart" begins as one of the album's more mellow songs, but builds into one of its most dramatic. Soft guitar and Jones' gentle verses slide in before background vocals begin to weave between Jones' singing while horns, strings and bongos all lock into the beat one by one. In an instrumental break after the second chorus, plucks of strings and patient swells of horns trade back and forth.

After a tense instrumental intro with thickly layered strings and stabbing horns, "Walk Away" begins with rattling high-hats, mournful vocals and a gentle bass line, before introducing guitar licks that sound like they're ripped straight out of an early Steely Dan track.

Although American Love Call is not an ambitious record in terms of its raw material, Durand Jones & the Indications execute nostalgic soul with passion- -and subtlety.

Track Listing: Morning in America; Don't You Know; Circles; Court of Love; Long Way Home; Too Many Tears; Walk Away; What I Know About You; Listen to Your Heart; Sea Gets Hotter; How Can I Be Sure; True Love.

Personnel: Durand Jones: vocals; Aaron Frazer: drums and vocals: Blake Rhein: guitars; Kyle Houpt: bass; Steve Okonski: keyboard.

Title: American Love Call | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: Dead Oceans

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