Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Kylie Auldist -- Just Say (2008)

Kylie Auldist -- Just Say (Tru Thoughts)

The success of Amy Winehouse and Duffy, and to a lesser extent, Adele, has shown that there is still a market for classic soul singing. It’s nice to know that a classic sound remains contemporary.

Auldist is an Australian soul singer, who works with one heck of a backing band, The Bamboos. She simply has a strong voice and doesn’t feel the need to show off. She co-writes her material with Bamboos guitarist Lance Ferguson, and acquits herself well.

But the song that convinced me that she is a real talent is a cover. Auldist takes on Jeff Buckley’s “Everybody Here Wants You”. The arrangement is terrific, building on the R & B foundation of Buckley’s original, adding horns and other appropriate touches. Auldist gives one hell of a performance, and, dare I say it, I think I prefer it to Buckley’s. While I wouldn’t put her interpretive abilities up there with Bettye Lavette’s, she really puts herself into this tune. Her phrasing is creative and she really tears into key phrases like “I’m only here for this moment.” She exudes the confidence that the lyrics demand.

This song is the centerpiece of the record, which spans various moods. The title cut, which is also the single, is pure Motown style joy. Here, Auldist is the big sister, telling a friend that if she isn’t getting the attention she deserves, then break it off. Everything is in place on this song, from Ella Thompson’s sympathetic backing vocals, to the string section, and Ferguson’s extra contribution on glockenspiel. This is motivating music!

As friendly as she can be, don’t piss Auldist off. “Cut You Loose” is a kiss off anthem, where Auldist cuts loose a bit more than normal vocally. But how can she hold back, with music that harkens back to the funk shuffles of James Brown in the ‘60s. And her attitude evokes the free spirit of Aretha Franklin (Auldist’s voice isn’t as good -- who’s is? -- but she sounds great). This track is also a great example of how tight The Bamboos are. A much lesser vocalist would sound alright with these guys backing him or her.

Kylie has her needs too, and she makes that clear on the New Orleans funk of “Gotsta Get Me Some”. She sounds really sexy on this track, as the rougher edges of her voice come to the fore. She pulls out all of the stops, whether racing through the internal rhymes, or breaking into her higher range for a sensual sigh. A tip of the cap to drummer Daniel Farrugia, who really nails the groove and swings.

This is one heck of an entertaining record. While Auldist is not the lyricist that Amy Winehouse is, her songs work. And while I like Duffy, I think Auldist is a better singer and with this band, it’s hard to go wrong. So who’s going to start the marketing campaign for her?

No comments: