Lamone - Smooth (2016)

Lamone
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Lamone takes listeners on a journey on Smooth, his latest recording. The trip begins at the club – well actually – on the sense of anticipation that accompanies that car ride from the crib to the spot and it ends how all these love in the club stories end – with people finding out the hard way that the club isn’t the ideal location to find a lasting relationship. Still, Lamone gets us to the club out on the dance floor and to the point where a guy’s panoramic view moves to a laser beam to one person.

Lamone takes listeners on a journey on Smooth, his latest recording. The trip begins at the club – well actually – on the sense of anticipation that accompanies that car ride from the crib to the spot and it ends how all these love in the club stories end – with people finding out the hard way that the club isn’t the ideal location to find a lasting relationship. Still, Lamone gets us to the club out on the dance floor and to the point where a guy’s panoramic view moves to a laser beam to one person.

The next phase, the relationship phase, goes through two people enjoying themselves in the club, and then deciding to take this thing to that next exclusively-me-and-you level, and ultimately to the point where lifetime commitments are made and rings get put on fingers. However, there will be no happily ever after, and the end begins with a throwback plea from man to woman not to walk away, before reluctantly concluding that parting is sorrowful but necessary.

Smooth tells a story that that people can identify with, and the key question when traversing such a familiar path is whether the listeners want to go. The answer is that there is definitely some payoffs throughout the project, even if there are some bumps along the way.

The up-tempo “Under The Spotlight” showcases the area where Lamone shines best as a vocalist, and that is as a singer of dance floor ready tracks. However, the mid-tempo stepper track “On The Rocks” is the strongest cut in the first half of the album. The track, with its light funk bass line and earworm hook, is a celebration of a man who may not have been looking for love in the club, but definitely finding love.

The slower cuts that occupy the second half are stronger than those that precede them, and the songwriting is consistently solid. “I Found You” features tight harmonies, and an old school soul bass driven arrangement. If there is any weakness in these numbers, it is that Lamone occasionally oversings, most notably on an overwrought cover of Chicago’s “If You Leave Me Now.” But that is certainly not the case with “Cocoa Brown,” the best of the slow jams due in large part to the fact that the tune’s stripped down arrangement lends itself to a more of a restrained delivery that fits Lamone well. It is most indicative of when Smooth is at its best: when the talented singer and songwriter lets thing flow organically, doesn’t try to do too much. You know, when it is smooth. Recommended.

By Howard Dukes

 
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