Retro soul and disco in perfect harmony. “Witchoo” is late 70s disco transported to 2021. An irresistible track with a Chic-like beat and great vocals by Durand and drummer Aaron Frazer. The dreamy vocals of Aaron, already cherished on his solo album, are the pitch-perfect backdrop for the soul ballad and title track “Private Space”, including smooth strings and cool backing vocals and the wonderful work of Brandee Younger on harp. Sort of Philadelphia International Records 2021 version. The nonchalant grooves actually start right away with the very first track, the pensive “Love Will Work It Out”, about so many lives lost during this pandemic: “All the people lost made me fall right onto my knees/all I could do was cry and shout/I knew I had to trust the faith that love would work it out”. Durand really cries his heart out on this one. Joel Ross adds some svelte vibes on this one.
More Philly soul can be heard on the excellent “Ride Or Die” with inimitably 70s sounding backup vocals, courtesy of Kate Mattison of the New York-based group 79.5. This track actually sounds like it’s culled from the Isley Brothers 1983 classic LP “Between The Sheets”. Handclaps are here as well, of course: “The Way That I Do” simply leaves you with high spirits after the initial listen. Earth, Wind & Fire meets Barry White on the excruciatingly sexy “More Than Ever”. Love those strings, an eight-piece section and the real deal, not some whacked up synth fodder. The Stylistics come to mind as well.
More Isleys, circa “For The Love Of You” 1975 mixed with E,W&F “Devotion” and you get the gracious “Reach Out”. Mind you, this is not a band simply copying 70s artists. The band brings a lot of freshness and many little interesting snippets and ideas to the table. Combined with a sensational production, this album really saved me on a lot of pretty stressful days and nights this season. And there is more to explore: the percussive “Sea Of Love” with a crazily catchy refrain or the albums’s closer, another dreamy soul piece with superb harmony vocals, sort of Mamas & the Papas style; it’s main phrase “I Can See” will not leave your ears and your head for several days to come.
This is the third album by the group and it is of course available on vinyl as well. Look out for an extensive US tour this month and October and the group will come over to Europe in 2022. OK I’m going back to “Witchoo” now. “I know you came with your friends but who you’re leaving with?” Hilarious!