Huey & The New Yorkers - Say It To My Face
Huey Morgan is erstwhile front man of Fun Lovin' Criminals and now a much-loved DJ on our own BBC 6 Music where his eclectic tastes transcend his musical origins and have led to awards and critical acclaim.
I was somewhat surprised that this was his first solo record but having heard it, that makes more sense. It is perfectly harmless, occasionally exciting but not that inspired. Huey croons gruffly throughout and there were rather fanciful comparisons to Tom Waits in the PR that came with the CD but Huey - you are no Tom Waits.
Most of the songs are well played, and even get into some infectious grooves, but often just as this achieved the song fades out leaving the listener unsatisfied. He also rarely plays to his strengths. Hip Hop punches the brain as much as the gut, usually with lyrics that linger after the music has faded, but sadly none of these lyrics do that. There is some content if you strain hard to hear it but most of the lyrics are disappointing at best.
If Huey Morgan wants to be like Tom Waits he needs to firstly abandon the producer of this album that made it sound so polished and trust his instincts more. This album sounds like a hastily, but competently, recorded vehicle for someone with ambition but not enough ideas.
I could go through track by track but frankly, they don't vary much.
I enjoyed the attempt at a country pastiche in "Fall Into Me" and "She Gone" has a few highlights but I couldn't get past the lyrics on "New York Bluez" which were just annoying.
"Christmas by the side of the road" is clearly an attempt at a seasonal cash generator but I don't think it will work, even with sleigh bells included.
Overall I think the quality of musicianship on the album makes it listenable and probably worth checking out. The crooning style is nothing close to the genius of Tom Waits but its a lot better than the pap coming out of X Factor and American Idol.
All things considered I would give Huey a high C+ and say buy this with mediocre expectations and it will not disappoint.