To our regret ALEX CHERNEY is a new name to us but his current album, ‘first, last and always’ (that’s right, no capital letters!) has made us sit up and want to learn more and what we’ve learned has surprised us!
New York-based Alex is a true Renaissance man! He’s an acclaimed indie film maker. We’re told by the movie people that I, “he has an innovative style of storytelling merging comedy, reality, and a multitude of genres, yielding a distinctive cinematic approach that captivates his audience. Drawing inspiration from esteemed directors such as Sean Baker, Paul Thomas Anderson, and Wes Anderson, Cherney crafts captivating films that break boundaries.” There you go! He’s also a builder – designing and constructing his own house in upstate New York!
But he also “dabbles” in music and retro soul is his current passion – and his songs have, over the last few years, won 500K+ streams on Spotify. If you’re a fan of retro soul (and who isn’t?) you could do worse than check out the aforementioned ‘first, last and always’. The album is Cherney’s second collaboration with the wonderfully named the BROTHERS NYLON. That duo are twin brothers, Mike and Nick Rufolo, currently based out of Melbourne Beach, Florida. However, they spent most of their lives on Long Island, New York, where they built up their recording CV which includes collaborations with Shawn Lee and Georgia Anne Muldrow. They’ve had millions of streams on Spotify and have a dedicated YouTube fanbase. The twins also score indie movies – possibly the initial link with Alex Cherney?
Whatever, the new link up has produced an intriguing and quite lovely album in ‘first, last and always’. The title track opens the set in classic, beguiling, retro fashion with Alex’s sweet soul falsetto floating over the Nylon Brothers’ sympathetic backing. Listen up to too a sensual horn break towards the end. ‘Hard To Stay’ is another winner – a real 60s throwback while ‘b side’ is a wonderful brassy roller. ‘What Is Real Love’ is tougher and funkier. For something gentler, try the closing track, ‘Baby Steppin’’. There are a few oddities like ‘Vibration’ which is a how the Beach Boys might sound if they tried Northern soul! This only adds to the LP’s intrigue!
Best point of reference for this album is the music of the Sextones and people like Aaron Frazer of the Indications; though Cherney’s music is a little rougher around the edges (it was recorded in analogue on a Tascam 388 machine) which is no bad thing sometimes.
ALEX CHERNEY and the BROTHERS NYLON: ‘first, last and always’; out now