Darien Brockington - The Cold Case Files

Darien Brockington
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I can see why an artist like Darien Brockington would get so frustrated with the record business that he would consider up and walking away. He's an indie soul artist who is much in demand as a vocalist. Brockington's voice can be heard on records by groups like The Foreign Exchange and Little Brother, and his album Somebody to Love created a lot of buzz among the hard-core alt-soul fans. Yet, that signature breakthrough has proven to be elusive. Brockington gives listeners of his new album, The Cold Case Files, a glimpse into the life of an indie artist who hasn't achieved the recognition he deserves via three segments of what could be called an audio diary. Brockington opens the record venting his frustrations over the fact that Somebody To Love didn't meet expectations. These frustrations reach a boiling point midway through the disc as he announces that he is ready to quit the music business.
I can see why an artist like Darien Brockington would get so frustrated with the record business that he would consider up and walking away. He's an indie soul artist who is much in demand as a vocalist. Brockington's voice can be heard on records by groups like The Foreign Exchange and Little Brother, and his album Somebody to Love created a lot of buzz among the hard-core alt-soul fans. Yet, that signature breakthrough has proven to be elusive. Brockington gives listeners of his new album, The Cold Case Files, a glimpse into the life of an indie artist who hasn't achieved the recognition he deserves via three segments of what could be called an audio diary. Brockington opens the record venting his frustrations over the fact that Somebody To Love didn't meet expectations. These frustrations reach a boiling point midway through the disc as he announces that he is ready to quit the music business. But by the end,Brockington is energized and prepared to play his music on his terms.

One might expect these audio thoughts to be a part of a larger musical story of how Brockington reconciles his creative muse with economic realities of the industry, but the record doesn't play out that way.  "Fashionista (Wish I Didn't Love H.E.R.)," the song that follows the interlude "I Quit," works both as a metaphor for the unrequited love Brockington experienced with the record industry and the story of an unsatisfactory and dysfunctional relationship with a woman.

The other songs stand on their own as Brockington's diverse takes on affairs of the heart. Some are bedroom anthems like "Let's Make Love 2 Nite;" others are breakup songs such as "Don't Miss You No More." Brockington gives his listeners old school ballads like the excellent closing track "Beautiful," and a nice piece of hip-hop soul on the head nodder "Girl It's You,"

As the listener works through this album to the end, a theme emerges that just might link these seemingly disparate songs and the audio diaries. Brockington is a vocalist who resists being categorized as being "too R&B" or "not R&B enough." He wants the freedom to release a funk/rock hybrid like the Terence Trent D'Arby influenced "Meet Me In Paris" alongside mainstream and radio friendly tracks like "Brakes On Us," or "Here We Go." And it is this desire for diversity that is both his musical strength and perhaps the source of his frustration with the music industry.  It is also what makes this reviewer very glad that Brockington has decided not to walk away from something at which he is so good.  Recommended

By Howard Dukes

 
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