Lift Your Spirit
Most people will remember the soulful lamenting of Aloe Blacc from his 2010 smash hit ‘I Need A Dollar’; an infectious burst of R&B layered with poignant lyrics and punchy brass. Perhaps fewer will recognise him as the voice and co-writer of last year’s summer anthem ‘Wake Me Up’ by Avicii, though you might kick yourself for not placing his dulcet tones before. With this increasing success considered Lift Your Spirit feels something of an anti-climax, providing a sensation largely opposed to its title’s implication.
Incidentally, the album begins with an acoustic rendition of ‘Wake Me Up’. This accentuates Blacc’s often overlooked vocals on the track, all the richer for this stripped-down delivery. However, even without the internal bleeding Avicii’s input usually provides, it feels uncomfortably close to its original form. This appears to embody an aversion to taking risks which manifests further on latest single ‘The Man’ (feat. credibility from Elton John samples) and across the record generally.
The album progresses into a sort of post-90s nostalgia trip. The arrangements on ‘I Wanna Be With You’ and title track ‘Lift Your Spirit’ sound uncannily like a Lighthouse Family/Lionel Richie mash-up, a sensation eventually culminating on ‘Eyes of a Child’. This finale epitomises the record in its entirety; an easy, enjoyable listen but nothing ground-breaking. With Mother’s Day fast approaching, Aloe Blacc’s smooth crooning might be the ideal gift for your dear old ma. Unfortunately, Lift Your Spirit is unlikely to feature in either of your lives for particularly long after.