Izipho Soul 2019
Coming down from dock of the bay, San Francisco singer refines his grop on a chosen genre.
If this album’s uncompromising title and – finally! – full-color artwork suggest CC has found the formula he’s been alchemically focused on for the past few years as an artist in his own right, it indeed might be the American’s best effort to date. It doesn’t define him, though, as Carter is still searching for the perfect balance between contemporary sonic demands and stylistic tradition that Cornell’s so firmly grounded in.
As a result, there’s unevenness to “Absoulutely” as the pieces on offer shift from R&B to R’n’B and back again only to hit the sweetest spot when such an exploration of soul’s timeline approaches the late ’70s template, although CC’s jazz-minded handling of Curtis’ “We’re A Winner” and Marvin’s “Come Live With Me Angel” – which could embellish his 2017’s embrace of classic numbers – should show a signifcant progress the singer made in the titular acceptance of it all. That’s why the original cut kickstarting the record is “Say Yes” whose soft gurgle and cushioned beats help Cornell’s supple voice glimmer yet if the 7-minute-long, seductively cosmic “Earn It” seems to cater to a post-disco audience, the sax-smeared “Ever Since” marries melancholy to lounge, and “Love Thang” takes the bliss even further, while “I Could Never” comes with a sharp edge and contagious punch apllied to a memorable melody.
Less in-your-face, it’s “Morning Touch” which features most impressive instrumental display from CC’s sympathetic band, with three guitars, Brian Braziel’s drums and Kirk Crumpler’s synthesizers creating an intimate space and bursting the bubble at the same time. That’s how albums like “Absoulutely” must roll, ingeniously pushing funk out of performance quirk and into the realm of pure emotions: with this record, CC came close to creating a template of his own.