Alvin Garrett - Expose Yourself (2013)

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    Birmingham, Ala. bassist and emerging songwriter Alvin Garrett already has a Grammy nomination to his name and he’s already rubbed elbows with the likes of Joe, Ruben Studdard, PJ Morton, Noel Gourdin, Trin-i-tee 5:7 and New Kids on the Block frontman, Jordan Knight. Actually, his pen is still dripping with wet ink after constructing Joe’s ‘comeback’ single “I’d Rather Have a Love,” the Joe/Fantasia duet “Love and Sex” and the bubbling hit for R&B newcomer Jarvis (“Make a Little Room"). As he steps from behind the shadows for his first solo set, Garrett dresses up as a slick, sexy R&B songster. He croons like a young kid. He writes love songs as if he’s having the time of his life searching for love in the nightclubs. At times he shaves off some of his age by resorting to Justin Bieber pleading. All of that works on the Trey Songz-ish baby-making music he’s producing on Expose Yourself.

    Birmingham, Ala. bassist and emerging songwriter Alvin Garrett already has a Grammy nomination to his name and he’s already rubbed elbows with the likes of Joe, Ruben Studdard, PJ Morton, Noel Gourdin, Trin-i-tee 5:7 and New Kids on the Block frontman, Jordan Knight. Actually, his pen is still dripping with wet ink after constructing Joe’s ‘comeback’ single “I’d Rather Have a Love,” the Joe/Fantasia duet “Love and Sex” and the bubbling hit for R&B newcomer Jarvis (“Make a Little Room"). As he steps from behind the shadows for his first solo set, Garrett dresses up as a slick, sexy R&B songster. He croons like a young kid. He writes love songs as if he’s having the time of his life searching for love in the nightclubs. At times he shaves off some of his age by resorting to Justin Bieber pleading. All of that works on the Trey Songz-ish baby-making music he’s producing on Expose Yourself.

    At best, Expose Yourself can be described as a lights-out sex suite wrought with faux-Teddy Pendergrass slow jams and the occasional bass-driven urban club banger; “Butterscotch Pumps,” for example. Garrett spares no apology when he cranks up his candlelit foreplay: “Navigating through your garden, helping me plant my flower in your soil/How’s it feel to be your forehead when my sweat begins to boil,” he sings on “To Be You With Me.” You can find more of that sensual, lustful chatter on the falsetto-climbing “Be My Exclusive” and the orgasmic title track. Check his cocky playboy swagger inside the swirling trills of “Never Gonna Find” and the album opener, “Lawd Hammer See,” which takes Southern church lingo and spins it around alien hip-hop and Usher-esque beats. Even “Puppet” tosses the innocent James & Bobby Purify imagery into a portal of X-rated ecstasy.

    Garrett does leave enough room to wear his emotions on his sleeve on the two-minute AC-like ballad, “I Wish I Could Lie.” Inside the song he pours on the romantic bravado of Brian McKnight, showcasing a side of transparency that’s hardly represented on the disc. More moments like this would have giving Expose Yourself the balance it truly deserves. The music sounds good and Garrett – a decent singer and a slightly-above-subpar producer – has no fear in adding more neon lights to Miguel’s “kaleidoscope dream.” But, most of the choruses are missing that extra zing needed to become Quiet Storm radio hits. If he could just discover that one component and utilize it using the same attack as his poetic sexcapades, we may be looking at another descendant from the R. Kelly tree.

    Vocals: 3 stars
    Music: 2.5 stars
    Lyrics: 3 stars
    Production: 3 stars
    SoulTracks Call: Moderately Recommended

    By J Matthew Cobb

     
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