The Way I Feel
For about 30 years now, since they moved from Detroit to L.A. and almost their entire stable fled to greener pastures that actually paid, Motown has been far from relevant in the R&B world. Sure, they had the early ’70s work of Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, The Jacksons, and Al Green, but what since? The Reddings? But, in recent years, the storied label has garnered a bit of success with the neo-soul of Erykah Badu and India.Arie. And they might just get a little more with Remy Shand.
There isn’t much neo to this Canadian’s blue-eyed soul. This guy is straight-up Old School with a nice, subtle ’70s soul/funk groove. So retro he’s moderne. In fact, you can pretty much catalogue his influences: musically, Marvin, Stevie, M. Hathaway, and Curtis Mayfield are all over the disc (you can pretty much name which influence for each song); and vocally, he sounds a little like Maxwell and has a falsetto that has melted somewhere between Curtis Mayfield circa 1976 and Prince 1979.
Although not the most original Canadien on the hockey team, Shandy has a nice, smooth, soulful sound that is captivating and a damned good time. He definitely has the talent that will erode the imitation to invent a unique voice in time (of course, the validity of that theory will be tested whenever D’Angelo comes out with his third release) — given the chance. Besides, Remy’s atavistic ’70s soul stylings are leagues better than the staccato drum machine regurgitations and castrated-with-a-rusty-safety-pin-cat-screeching ululations that bleed out of today’s pop/R&B radio speakers.
Motown Records: http://www.motown.com