Last November, French blue-eyed soul man ALEXIS EVANS announced the release of an upcoming album, ‘Yours Truly’. His previous LP, 2019’s ‘I’ve Come A Long Way’ was well received – a convincing take on classic soul, a genre he grew to love via his soul loving English father.
The announcement of the new LP came in the time-honoured way of releasing a lead single. The track was a quirky intriguing ‘Mister Right on Time’ which seemed to herald a move away from the more orthodox sound of ‘I’ve Come A Long Way’. Then came a second single, ‘Do Something’ and we were pleased to report that this one – a sweet and lovely finger-clicker was much more a traditional soul track – albeit a 21st take on the genre. The third single was different again . Yes, it looked back to soul’s past but ‘Let Them Loose’ was altogether funkier; a hybrid of Norman Whitfield, Rick James and Prince.
In many ways, those three different tracks pointed to what Alexis is/was trying to do with the 12 track, ‘Yours Truly’. It seems he doesn’t want to come over as a one trick pony. He wants to show that his art can offer plenty of variety.
So you want something a little different? Then there’s the aforementioned ‘Mr Right On Time’ . For something very different, try the instrumental ‘Hornado’ which sounds like the theme to some sort of spoof movie. Another oddity (maybe) is the closing track, ‘The Only Apple’. Mainly acoustic, this is folksy (though not in the soul/folk tradition of Terry Callier) with sweet West Coast inspired harmonies.
But we know that Monsieur Evans can “do” proper soul too and there’s plenty here to satisfy, like the lovely opener, ‘Closer To The Water’ – a big, emotional sound that reminds me of ‘Thin Line Between Love And Hate’ if it were to be interpreted by Durand Jones and the Indications. ‘It Matters To Me’ is another lovely take on classic soul with brass figures straight from the 60s Chicago soul catalogue. The soul is more Southern fried on the sombre title track and the equally melancholic ‘Close To Me’ . Elsewhere, well you’d probably file ‘What Is This Feeling’ and ‘Meet Me Halfway’ under blue-eyed soul, but they add to the variety of this quite lovely collection. ‘Yours Truly’ is out now and comes recommended, especially the tracks ‘Closer To The Water, ‘It Matters To Me’ and ‘Do Something’