Avery Stafford - Undignified

Published Sunday 20th November 2005
Avery Stafford - Undignified
Avery Stafford - Undignified

RATING 4 4 4 4
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 13401-3191
LABEL: Independent
RRP: £4.99

Reviewed by Phil Thomson

If a lyric re-write of "How Sweet It Is" - in order to christianise a classic song - isn't ridiculous enough, add in a rap interlude. Messing with Marvin Gaye and James Taylor's work is not art, it's desperation. And that about sums up the album. While the flautist floats, the saxophone soars, the high hats reach for new heights - even the keyboards get insistently playful - they just cannot work hard enough to rescue this uncertain album from mediocrity. The claim is that this is the Bay Area's finest, but I've heard sweeter vocals from California buskers. Avery Stafford is another of those wanna-be-soulful West Coast voices which barely gets to grips with what he is singing, relying on mechanics rather than passion; relying, if you like, on the genre to look after itself. It's all just very ordinary. Yet everything has been thrown in: oboe, viola, edgy guitars here and there breaking to violin, an uncomfortable tinny piano and yes, a track with children in the playground. The musicianship is sound, some of the arrangements work, but there are very few surprises. Co-production is by Patrick Collins, who ought to know better; his track record includes the likes of Stevie Wonder, George Harrison, Minnie Ripperton, Quincy Jones. So I blame the guy who fronts the project - it all lacks character - trying too hard with inferior songs and a perfunctory studio performance. When it comes to the class of album this aspires to, the title here more than sums it up.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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