96kHz/24-bit, FLAC; Brushfire Records B0027335-02 (supplied by www.highresaudio.com)
The latest album from Canadian singer Afie Jurvanen’s Bahamas solo project opens with guitars zinging back and forth between the speakers, but just as you’re expecting a solid beat to be laid down, in comes his voice, close-miked and personal, and you’re away in the world of Earthtones. And a satisfyingly soulful world it is, combining his voice with the drumming of James Gason and superstar bassist Pino Palladino, plus backing vocals from Felicity Williams, swinging from toe-tapping funk to fabulous harmonies and crisp, inventive guitar licks. On ‘Show Me Naomi’ they hit a winning groove backed by gospel vocals, while ‘So Free’ liberates Palladino’s bass, again with fabulous vocal harmonies. And through it all there’s Jurvanen’s remarkably flexible voice, at turns breathy and plaintive, and then rapping on ‘Bad Boys Need Love Too’ against a slinky bass-line. AE
Sound Quality: 80%
Hi-Fi News Lab Report
Recorded too hot, the levels of analogue noise also vary by 20-30dB as those very close-miked vocals get, well, too close to 0dBFs. The final rendering is at 96kHz but there’s some lower-rate content in the mix and spuriae, too, at 18/36kHz. PM
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