Shake It Off
our score: 3.5 out of 5.0
not Jarvis Church, you know. It's Gerald Eaton, or at least that's
the name he used as the singer for platinum-selling Canadian funk/soul/pop
band the Philosopher Kings. Jarvis and Church are two streets
in Toronto that he's stolen for his solo name; and he's also part
of Track and Field Productions, the team behind Nelly Furtado's
Whoah, Nelly! breakthrough from a couple years ago. Y'all
transition here) it turns out the man's got as many skills as
he has names, and as many styles as he has skills. I love this
record: it's a great neo-R&B record, with a lot of funk and
pop and reggae influences. Church (we'll call him that for the
purposes of this review) has a great voice, capable of a sexy
falsetto as well as a yearning raspy soul croon, and he knows
how to use it: the title track sees him working both sides of
Curtis Mayfield's street by keening high and then testifying underneath,
whereas on slow-jam "She Kills Like a Soldier" he underplays
the vocal so much that you almost don't notice that he's singing
about a woman so heinous that she emotionally destroys people
when she's mad.
has a strong sense of how he wanted his album to sound, and it
sounds great; he and co-producer Brian Wild (is he Field?)
make sure everything is tight and correct on the techno numbers
as well as the old-school Memphis-sounding ones, and every Babyface-like
acoustic guitar strum and cymbal splash are as clear as a Canadian
night-time sky. While Church has apparently never met a quiet-storm
ballad he didn't like, his songs are inventive without being inaccessible.
The two strangest are the ones with Canadian women doing cameo
appearances: "Fine Line" features Furtado as a random
stripper who flips out and invades Church's personal space, and
avant-siren Esthero shows up on "Run for Your Life"
as a random stalker who invades Church's personal space. Dude--they
have therapists for that. Look into it.
this might be too laid-back for some people, and although neither
Track nor Field have learned anything new since Furtado's first
album, this album contains enough great songs that I'm hooked
for real. "That Old Love Song" has chord changes from
Prince's old songbook and an insistent lovah-man vibe; "Forgive
Me" brings a little bit of two-step garage and ragga style;
"So Amazing" has some Latin heat burning at its core.
You'll like this album, I think, if you have any damned taste
at all. Hey: at the very least, it'll make people fall in love
with you. Bonus, huh?
liked Shake It Off...
Shake It Off
2. Who Will Be Your Man
3. Fine Line (Jarvis Church featuring Nelly
4. That Old Love Song
5. Run for Your Life (Jarvis Church featuring
6. If We Only Knew
7. She's In Love With You
8. Last Night Ever
9. Forgive Me (Jarvis Church featuring Jelleestone)
10. Never Gonna Let You Go
11. So Amazing
12. She Kills Like a Soldier
13. All I Ever Wanted
14. Shake It Off (Reggae Remix) (Hidden Track)