Emanuel Casablanca is a singer-songwriter from Brooklyn who displays a classic sense of experience that belies his relatively young age while invoking prime characteristics of iconic blues and soul artists. The result is a solid album that carries more down-home southern-based traits than a metropolitan-manufactured product.
The basic sophistication of the smoothly developed opener, "It's Getting Strange," provides a good introduction to his talent as Casablanca shows he can hit the high notes, low register and points in between with charisma and chops. A crisp guitar solo seems a bit too brief, but Casablanca proves he can successfully make a statement short and sweet. Ian Howells adds piano accentuation.
"Woman Made of Gold" is a slow rocking, heartbreak lament, while "Give Me Peace" is a righteous anthem that conveys personal reflection with powerful, old school gospel-tinged vocals and just a taste of fuzz box guitar that calls out for more.
"Signs of Love" shines like a Beale Street sunrise and conjures images of Al Green and B.B. King, served up like a rib-joint breakfast after a long night of romance. Howell's keyboards offer some more smooth touches to wash it all down well. "I Can See" is a more traditional country style blues song with a light-hearted aesthetic that sounds easy but is actually one of the trickiest forms of the genre to pull off effectively. The song sticks to the ear like Mississippi riverside honey.
Casablanca's team makes a point of crediting engineers Paul Howells and singularly titled Tamas as musical contributors in promotional information, which is well warranted since the fine band sounds tight as can be, with a virtually live tonal presence throughout.
The abbreviated five song album/EP only clocks in for around twenty minutes of music, but it's a solid offering overall and no time or tone is wasted. Casablanca seems to possess all the gifts that lead to stardom.
It's Getting Strange; I Can See; Woman Made of Gold; Signs of Love; Give Me Peace.
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