Release Date: TBA
Record label: RCA
Shake It Off label: RCA released: TBA our score: 3.5 out of 5.0download Jarvis Church lyrics and sheet music Shake 'n' Bake
His name's not Jarvis Church, you know. It's Gerald Eaton, or at least that's the name he used as the singer for platinum-selling Canadian funk/soul/pop band the Philosopher Kings. Jarvis and Church are two streets in Toronto that he's stolen for his solo name; and he's also part of Track and Field Productions, the team behind Nelly Furtado's Whoah, Nelly! breakthrough from a couple years ago. Y'all keeping up?
Well, (big transition here) it turns out the man's got as many skills as he has names, and as many styles as he has skills. I love this record: it's a great neo-R&B record, with a lot of funk and pop and reggae influences. Church (we'll call him that for the purposes of this review) has a great voice, capable of a sexy falsetto as well as a yearning raspy soul croon, and he knows how to use it: the title track sees him working both sides of Curtis Mayfield's street by keening high and then testifying underneath, whereas on slow-jam "She Kills Like a Soldier" he underplays the vocal so much that you almost don't notice that he's singing about a woman so heinous that she emotionally destroys people when she's mad.
Church also has a strong sense of how he wanted his album to sound, and it sounds great; he and co-producer Brian Wild (is he Field?) make sure everything is tight and correct on the techno numbers as well as the old-school Memphis-sounding ones, and every Babyface-like acoustic guitar strum and cymbal splash are as clear as a Canadian night-time sky. While Church has apparently never met a quiet-storm ballad he didn't like, his songs are inventive without being inaccessible. The two strangest are the ones with Canadian women doing cameo appearances: "Fine Line" features Furtado as a random stripper who flips out and invades Church's personal space, and avant-siren Esthero shows up on "Run for Your Life" as a random stalker who invades Church's personal space. Dude--they have therapists for that. Look into it.
But although this might be too laid-back for some people, and although neither Track nor Field have learned anything new since Furtado's first album, this album contains enough great songs that I'm hooked for real. "That Old Love Song" has chord changes from Prince's old songbook and an insistent lovah-man vibe; "Forgive Me" brings a little bit of two-step garage and ragga style; "So Amazing" has some Latin heat burning at its core. You'll like this album, I think, if you have any damned taste at all. Hey: at the very least, it'll make people fall in love with you. Bonus, huh? 28-Oct-2002 10:50 AM