ALEX PUDDU: Discotheque (Schema Records)


Modern soul followers will by now be familiar with the name Alex Puddu. The Italian multi instrumentalist has been around for quite a while but at the back end of last year his was the marquee name on a couple of fine modern soul tunes… ‘You Are My Fire’ and ‘Don’t Hold Back’. Both ticked all the required modern soul “quality” boxes. Biggest tick was in the vocal department. Authentically soulful, the vocals belonged to Gene Robinson of Philly group, Breakwater who Signor Puddu brought in to take his tunes to that next level. It worked.

Now the parent album is amongst us and the good news is that there is another Robinson-fronted track that offers the same quality modern soul as those two earlier singles. This one’s ‘Be My Lover’ and after a classic brief spoken intro, it opens up into a steady, hook-laden 70s/80s groove.

The 11 track set offers three more vocal tracks. First there’s ‘Back Against The Wall’ with vocals from Duane Hobson. It’s a jazz/funk era throwback featuring some nice vibes. Duane’s the main man too on ‘Saturday Night’ – a fairly predictable and pedestrian “party tune”. Then there’s the reggae-inflected ‘Release The Catch ‘with young Danish vocalist Sawa at the mic.

As you can probably guess the remaining 5 cuts are instrumental allowing Alex to flash his credentials. Sadly only the title track ignites. This ‘Discotheque’ though is a late night affair. The tune is bumpy, bassy and, in places, slinky. If it’s real slinkiness you’re after however, try ‘Love Affair’. It’s right out of the blaxploitation era… that part of the movie when the love interest kicks in. You won’t be surprised to learn the track features a little heavy breathing and the occasional whispered vocal interjection!

(BB) 3/5