Durand Bernarr - AlcoholHarmony: The Mixtape (2009)

Durand Bernarr
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Usually R&B mixtapes are self-indulgent and under-produced to a fault. There are those times, however, when an unsigned talent's mixtape is a welcome introduction to an astonishing gift. Twenty-year old Cleveland native Durand Bernarr has voice, voice and then more voice to bless your ears. His untrained, yet near flawless technique conjures references to Eric Benet and Rashaan Patterson, with the intelligence and fearlessness of Tonex. As a young man, his song choices for this cover heavy debut tend to be uber-contemporary, with material by Ne-yo, Rihanna, Gnarls Barkley, John Mayer, Kanye West, and J*Davey all getting his stratospheric vocal treatment, mostly favorably. Still, it's on more original compositions like the radio-ready cuts "Speak 2 Me" and "...In My Mind (U Ain't Got Me)," and the absolutely hilarious "Rodeo Jazz" that Durand is more brilliantly himself.

Still young in his song craft, some songs meander and the production mix sports definite stumbles, but few to the point of distraction. Whatever the mixtape's deficiencies this YouTube star can outshine them all. Notable songs: "Closer/Don't Stop The Music," "Who's Gonna Save My Soul," and "...In My Mind (U Ain't Got Me)" Vocals: 4 stars   Lyrics: 3 stars   Music: 2.5 stars   Production: 2.5 stars -- SoulTracks Call: Highly Recommended 
Get it for free here: http://www.sendspace.com/file/zebb3v

By L. Michael Gipson


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