In Review: Aaron Frazer - Introducing...
You may have heard the sweet falsetto tones of Aaron Frazer co-leading the vocals with Durand Jones and the Indications, where he also takes charge of the drums. Aaron’s voice was perhaps most notable on ‘Is It Any Wonder’ which became an instant great, and this first solo project simply titled Introducing... is an exciting extension of his work with the Indications, written and recorded in less than a week with The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach.
The short time frame in which this album was created is certainly no reflection of the standard, mixing together old school doo-wop, soul and gospel, firmly tied together with his own string. As well as Auerbach, there are notable names on the credits such as members of Memphis Boys who backed icons like Dusty Springfield and Aretha Franklin, as well as L. Russell Brown who wrote for the similarly pitched Frankie Valli.
Each track slides into the next as smooth as a two-step. Beginning with a softer tone, it isn’t long before we hear the horns and bass on ‘If I Got It’, while ‘Can’t Leave It Alone’ feels like a beat that Mark Ronson would love to get his hands on.
‘Lover Girl’ immediately transports you to a 1960’s dance hall. A sweet and pure sentiment of a song that wouldn’t feel out of place on a Temptations record. The construction is as slick as Frazer’s quiff – it’s finger-clicking good.
Among the themes of love, sits ‘Bad News’, written from the perspective of Mother Earth which is as pressing an issue as you’ll find. The variety of influences that creep up on you, musically and thematically, are a welcome surprise. Particularly with the disco-esque intro to ‘Ride With Me’ (another addressing climate change) and quick-steppin’ bass on ‘Over You’, both of which would incite the vibe of any Northern Soul club night.
Inevitable comparisons will be made between Introducing... and previous albums made with the Indications, but what Frazer has achieved is a standalone, a softer, and more individual work of expression, paying homage to throwback sounds without pastiche. His vocals are without the contrast of Durand Jones and while the tone of Aaron’s voice is similar throughout, there is certainly enough weight to carry through his own body of work.
A heart-breaking ballad ‘Leaning On Your Everlasting Love’ closes the album with a tear-inducing blend of keys and harmonies, and as the electric guitar takes centre stage: you’re the only one left on the dance floor. A final take-away in the lyric feels all the more poignant in this current moment… “In a world so full of trouble, and my house turned to rubble, but you helped me to build a new foundation”. Music is salvation for many, and Frazer's elegant album will offer just that. Pure escapism and reflection.