Kameron Corvet - Darker Than Gray (2014)

Kameron Corvet
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There are always mixed feelings when one of your favorite alternative R&B or rock artists goes more decidedly pop in their music. Such is the case with singer/songwriter sometime soulster, sometimes rocker Kameron Corvet, whose latest project, Darker Than Gray, is both more urban and pop than the album that landed him on the map some 11 years ago, Korporate Rockstar.  It’s not altogether a surprise, given the about face Corvet’s branding and music has taken since his brush with national fame through his audition for The Voice, one of those head-scratching moments when no chairs turned around for what was clearly a good performance. If you want to reinvent yourself for the mainstream, you couldn’t do it more than with Darker Than Gray.

There are always mixed feelings when one of your favorite alternative R&B or rock artists goes more decidedly pop in their music. Such is the case with singer/songwriter sometime soulster, sometimes rocker Kameron Corvet, whose latest project, Darker Than Gray, is both more urban and pop than the album that landed him on the map some 11 years ago, Korporate Rockstar.  It’s not altogether a surprise, given the about face Corvet’s branding and music has taken since his brush with national fame through his audition for The Voice, one of those head-scratching moments when no chairs turned around for what was clearly a good performance. If you want to reinvent yourself for the mainstream, you couldn’t do it more than with Darker Than Gray.

Urban and pop aren’t necessarily bad things, they are just different things, especially when they follow younger, more radio trends. Kameron Corvet hinted at this direction with his junior project, F*ck Love, (early press of Corvet’s project was under the misguided impression that he was just on his sophomore release, rather than his fourth). Some of it happens to be fairly catchy fare, like the virally impressionable “Led Me To You,” a sunshine and guitar rambler that goes straight for the heart. The synth and electric guitar heavy “Bad For Me” is also an emotional driver that darkly delights.  Melodically, the layered electrosoul of “Loosen Up” is another winner with a stealthy vocal that sneaks up on you and causes toe taps before you know it. There’s also a bit of uptempo fight in “Take It Back.”

By the time one takes in a cut like “Round Of It” or “Complicated,” with the latter’s aerial falsettos and synthy pirouettes, one can’t help but be struck by the sameness of it all. Very dark, very slick, very polished, very rhythmic at times, with an auto-tunes sheen coating Corvey’s already naturally perfect tenor and Corvet’s lyrical themes of the in-between grays of love and lust begin to blur into nothing truly memorable, much like that “in the meantime” space the project covers. The A-list project producers of Pierre Medor (Usher, Mary J. Blige), Kennard Garrett (Pussycat Dolls, Sean Garrett), and Corvet himself are nearly indistinguishable from one another as project cohesion gives way to one long song, with only a handful of exceptions. 

The challenge with reinventing yourself for more mainstream appeal is that while you’re now beautifully on trend, you’re also just one of many. One thing no one ever thought they’d say of the natural urban alternative soul rocker we first were introduced to a little more than a decade ago is that he’d disappear into a crowd. Then again, maybe now that elusive chair from The Voice would turn around for the much more calculatedly commercial Kameron Corvet, even as some longtime fans decide to turn theirs back around in disappointment.  Moderately Recommended.

By L. Michael Gipson

 

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