Zee Desmondes and Teddy Powell are back for good. And more than that. Imagine Kashif, Quincy Jones, and Leon Sylvers getting together in the early to mid 80s. Out comes “Lionel Richie”, the first cut on the brilliant new album “Cruiserweight” by The Jack Moves. Wonderful string arrangements, “Off The Wall”-style vocals and a thick, retro-sounding, but still contemporary production set the stage for ten new gems. The bass on this is just thrilling. We’ve already been treated to the two singles, which are still riding high on our sound system here at home. “Somebody’s Watching You” catches that same early 80s vibe and could be right off a Lillo Thomas album from that period. Love the keys and the hookline. A little magic happening here. Teddy Powell Jr.’s vocals are just sublime.
The other single which came out in advance is the still inconceivably romantic “Seabra”, a mixture of “Guilty” and some of the best soul ballads on Philly International. Pure bliss. The blend into the bridge is just hilariously compelling. More Philly-style sounds can be heard on the beautiful ballad “When You’re In Love”, a sweet sweet beauty of a song. “So Long” oozes class and more of those awe-inspiring vocals. There is more power and strength on the synth-heavy “Biblical Technology”. “Gatti vs Ward” has a special dynamic on its own, with an urgent drive towards the second half of the song.
After “The Jack Moves” (2015), now re-released on vinyl, and the 2018 “Free Money”, “Cruiserweight” is easily the most well-rounded and satisfying set from the New Jersey-based outfit. Really dig the vocals on “Don’t Pretend”, another midtempo breeze flowing through the air. We also get a subdued disco track with “Six Ways”, another hypnotizing and irresistible groover. Add to that the album closer “This Time” and indulge in more soothing and electrifying soul sounds.
The album is out since last Friday. It seems that the CD release has been pushed back to late January, with the vinyl version to be released on March 5th. Talk about supply chain problems. And don’t miss their show at New York’s Mercury Lounge on November 14th.