...the newcomer of the year has been found...
Jack Smith 2004
The last time I was so enthusiastic about a debut album was over Dwele's Subject, who, like Van Hunt, oozes quality with every syllable he utters. Make no mistake, this is soul music of the highest quality.
Vocally Van Hunt falls somewhere between Smokey Robinson and Curtis Mayfield and, like these greats, has a lot more to offer than a great voice. This multi-talented singer-songwriter has produced the majority of the tracks on his eponymous debut, as well as playing many of the instruments. Add to this equation his obvious good looks, styling and a stage presence second to none, and it looks (and sounds!) like soulfans have a lot to be excited about.
The album itself is a sweet brew of rich slow jam, finger clicking tempos and music delivered striaght from the heart. A magical trip back to a time when smooth soul echoed from the street corners of 70's America, evoking the finest work of Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye. Every nuance Hunt delivers reeks of a bygone era where sinuous guitars fused with burbling basslines, underpinning tales of thwarted love and the struggles of commitment.
Highs are many, pick any of the dozen tracks and you won't be disappointed,with notable goodness found within the grooves of "Highlights" (imagine Lenny Kravitz singing Sly Stone's "Family Affair"); the sublime angst of "Dust" and the lounging smooth jazz of the lead single, "Down Here In Hell (With You)".
While Van Hunt's down tempo sound would be best termed contemporary soul, you sense this guy could soon be in competition with r&b stars like R.Kelly and Usher. Already hailed by Alicia Keys as "one of the most incredible musicians I know", I say the newcomer of the year has been found with months to spare.