DURAND JONES: ‘Wait Till I Get Over’ (Dead Oceans)

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For a few years now DURAND JONES and his band  THE INDICATIONS have charmed us with their lovely take on classic soul delivered with a contemporary twist and in places a gritty toughness. Albums like ‘American Love Call’ and ‘Private Space’ became instant classics. But right now Jones is stepping away from the band  to deliver this solo project and there’s no official word whether the split is permanent or whether the boys are all taking a sabbatical. You’ll know, probably, that drummer Aaron Frazer and keyboardist Steve Okonski are currently developing side hustles, so why not the man out front?

So, the 12 tracker that is ‘Wait Till I Get Over’ is Durand Jones out on his own and his people  tell us that the LP is a deeply personal affair – a reflection on his relationship to his hometown of Hillaryville, Louisiana. The town was established as a form of reparations to previously enslaved Black Americans and the song cycle that is ‘Wait Till I Get Over’ deals with the conflict within the singer to leave the town yet honour its and his roots.

So yes, a “concept” album if you would and not your usual soul fare, nor is it like anything we’ve heard from Jones before. It’s not retro soul, that’s  for sure, but the music still honours soul’s heritage while drawing inspiration from a myriad of other sources… gospel, R&B, jazz, country, rock, blues, hip-hop and more.

The nearest offering to what we might call  the expected Durand Jones sound is ‘See It Through’. The intro is a little odd but the track develops sweetly in an uptown 60s fashion till a country rock guitar solo sweeps you away! The there’s a  cover of Donny Hathaway’s anthem ‘Someday We’ll All Be Free’. At first, this is treated with respect – sticking closely to the original template till we’re two minutes in  when guest artist Skypp delivers a disturbing rap that takes the Hathaway song right up to 2023 and Jones is to be applauded for doing just that.

Elsewhere, there’s a variety of musical styles. The second track ‘The Place You’d Most Want To Live’ is a scene setting spoken word piece . This follows a dramatic opening track, ‘Gerri Marie’, a moving piano ballad speaking of heartbreak and regret and seeing how we’ve just mentioned Donny Hathaway, he seems to be Jones’ inspiration here. ‘Sadie’ is blues based while the album title track is old school, store front Church gospel before a degree of experimentation kicks in.

There is so much going on on  ‘Wait Till I Get Over’ that’s it’s easy to see why the album has divided opinion. What we might call the serious media have heaped considerable praise on it. The more conservative soul media have been much more critical, some even writing it off completely. For what it’s  worth, we’re with the serious media. We won’t pretend that ‘Wait Till I Get Over’ is an easy listen. It’s not meant to be; then neither was ‘Songs in the Key Of Life’ or ‘What’s Going On’. Those two classics tried to offer something new – to provoke, to excite, to disturb and here Jones is trying to do the same. We think he’s succeeded and shining through all the complexities and eclecticism is the man’s wonderful true soul voice  – as striking as it ever was. Here it’s just being used to different effect.

(BB) 4/5