TERELL HOUSE: Out Of The Box (Label: La Trebor Records)

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Terell House” … a National Trust property or a Belgravia mansion … maybe? No, Mr House is actually a half-decent indie soul singer who works in and around southwest Louisiana where he’s affectionately known as “the neighbourhood Teddy Bear”. No disrespect intended, but the album art work indicates that his nickname probably stems from his size and it’s not just the man’s ample figure that reminded me of dear old Luther Vandross. You see, in places, little ole Teddy Bear tries his best to come on like the Bronx legend. The bass-popping ‘That’s My Baby’, for instance, is clearly modelled on ‘Till My Baby Comes Home’ while on the pleasing ballad ‘I’m In To You’ producer Robert Coleman has assembled all the ingredients that Luther would usually throw into a ballad – why, if my ears don’t deceive me, I’d say he even uses real strings. But that said, it doesn’t quite come off and in honesty who could ever replicate the majesty of Vandross? Terell House certainly can’t but he has a good bash and ‘Out Of The Box’ is a reasonable indie soul set, displaying all that’s good and not so good about the genre. The good first; Well, our Terell’s got a good enough set of pipes. Clearly church-reared, he has passion and commitment in abundance. Then, there’s the odd good track. Lots of indie albums boast a goodie and here it’s the opener – ‘You Look So Good’. It’s a very steady mid-tempo groove and the beats are perfect for the modern soul room. If you want something a little different to impress your peers, this could be it. Now the not so good: As is often the case with indie albums many of the songs don’t come up to the mark and here there are a few duffers. ‘Got To Be Real’, for instance, is a twee ballad while ‘Move Your Body’ is a poor attempt to at contemporary R&B beats. Then there’s the under-budgeted production. Apart from the aforementioned ‘I’m In To You’, too many of the backing tracks are thin and tinny. Finally there’s the padding. Here, though there are 15 tracks listed , one song gets three inclusions in various edits while three others get two appearances each. That said, though, it’s admirable that people like Teddy Bear boy Terell House is keeping the southern soul flag flying and though not everything here works, there’s still the odd reward to be had. The album’s currently available via the usual internet outlets.
(BB) 3/5