Curtis Harding - Soul Power
With so much of music's history within easy reach at the touch of the button, it can be difficult to hear something new and appreciate the melding of past and present. Take Curtis Harding’s debut, the sublime Soul Power, as an example though. The Atlanta singer does nothing especially fancy, and certainly nothing new, with the twelve tunes on show here but his obvious influences - hear the gospel-flecked organ on ‘Castaway’ - mean that he has that classic soul sound down to a tee. Backing CeeLo Green has given him a good grounding in melody, while the delicious richness of his voice brings that sometimes elusive authenticity.
The highlights are many: ‘Keep On Shining’ is true old school soul; ‘Freedom’ has all the slinkiness of a ten foot python; ‘Heaven’s On The Other Side’ brings a bass-y funk. In amongst these soulful blues though is an unwelcome - and ill-advised - chunk of indie-punk (‘Surf’ and ‘I Don’t Wanna Go Home) that define 'sore thumb'. That's only a small misstep though and when Harding sticks to the music of his heart, Soul Power flies. Thrillingly, he instinctively seems to know that history can still teach us plenty.