JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound
Every few years a new soul movement is proclaimed, just like a new Dylan is crowned. On Want More, the debut album by JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound, the Chicago band shows they have the potential to outlast the “next big thing” hype and create an album that is more than merely copying a musical style.
And the variety of styles and influences are readily apparent, especially when Brooks breaks into a Curtis Mayfield-esque falsetto on “To Love Someone (That Don’t Love You)” with a Philly soul background. The ballad “Don’t Lock the Door” betrays a heavy Stax influence, especially in the tastefully underplayed guitar. While “Want More” has its share of uptempo rockers, the ballads tend to be the standout tracks, especially “Missing Things,” a simple, aching ballad, where the most effective parts are done with just vocals and drums, with a piano breaking in occasionally.
The band is even able to turn Wilco’s ghostly, droney “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart” into a percussion-heavy stomper that lingers in the mind long after the song is over.
The production ably emphasizes the tight rhythm section, although a little more grit would be appreciated. One feels that this is a band that is meant to be experienced live rather than on album.
Hopefully Want More is but the first shot in the Uptown Sound’s campaign to restore soul music back to its proper place in popular music. Want More reveals a band happily synthesizing their influences and trying to make their own contribution to the soul canon.
Bloodshot Records: bloodshotrecords.com