James Hunter Six

This six-piece band hasn’t strayed far from the sounds and rhythms of the ’50s and ’60s and the enduring themes of love and lust. Unlike some modern R&B artists, Hunter steers away from these themes in their common sex/seduction guise, instead unravelling the deeper side of love. It is an easy feat for him, as he has drawn inspiration from his new love and wife, Jessie, to whom he dedicates three of his 10 songs. Clocking in at a brisk 40 minutes the album has a rollercoaster of moods. Saxophones pull you in to start I Don’t Wanna Be Without You, the romantic melody swinging above the swells of a rhumba, while Hunter’s rugged vocals slide along the chords of an organ. The record’s tone takes a swift yet sudden turn when he softens into the tender melody of Mm-Hmm, the British singer answering his own thoughts about regret with a simple hum as if both to comfort and reassure himself. And so the album unfolds – from blues driver Blisters to sax-powered Show Her and the romantic It Was Gonna Be You, Hunter’s emotive gifts will have you panting for more.

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