Artist: Paul Wright
Label: Gotee Records
Paul Wright arrives at a time when music could stand an infusion of talented male solo artists. And he has the goods to lead a whole pack of ’em. His debut full-length pulls together alt-rock and hip-hop into a musical gumbo that stays fresh for all 13 tracks. One minute he’s evoking melancholy, post-modern British rockers (“Crashing Down”), only to veer into cool jazz (“Fly Away”) and then zigzag into street-level rap (“Flip-Flops”).
About the only constant is Wright’s acoustic guitar and plaintive voice, a combination you’d imagine could happen if Dave Matthews had as much soul as Seal. And he also has a knack for big hooks, such as the chorus to “Brighter,” which features a gospel-choir breakdown.
Occasionally, Wright wears his influences too close to the surface, as on the very dc talk-ish “You’re Beautiful.” But it’s easily overlooked considering his creative touches on the rest of the disc. And when he quiets down for the bittersweet “Where’s Daddy?” about yearning for a father’s love, it becomes apparent that Wright possesses a singular voice worthy of attention.
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