Home > News & Reviews > Anderson East

Anderson East - Encore (Album Review)

Thursday, 18 January 2018 Written by Simon Ramsay

Every now and then you come across an artist you’re convinced is going to be a superstar. That, ladies and gents, is definitely the case with singer-songwriter Anderson East. Armed with a sassy smorgasbord of swinging R&B, roof-raising gospel and smouldering soul, the man from Alabama has dragged the vintage strains of Otis Redding, Joe Cocker, Sam Cooke and Ben E. King into the present.

That’s not to say East has suddenly materialised out of the ether intent on delivering salvation from all today’s artificial evils. No sir. The Dave Cobb-produced ‘Encore’ follows up three albums, the first of which was put out under the name Mike Anderson, and an EP. Prior to their release the 30-year-old grandson of a Baptist preacher studied music engineering in Tennessee, before working as a session player and studio hand. He’s grafted for his big break.

‘Delilah’, East’s sublime major label debut, was released via Elektra three years ago and whet the appetite for more. But aside from getting a song on the Fifty Shades Darker soundtrack he’s most recently been in the headlines due to his romance with country queen Miranda Lambert. ‘Encore’ looks set to change that, though. With a batch of unerringly heartfelt gems so wonderfully written, orchestrated and performed that he pulls off the tricky feat of recalling unearthed diamonds from yesteryear without it once feeling like a reverent reproduction.

This impressive achievement stems from a combination of Cobb’s vibrant production, the co-writing contributions of Chris Stapleton, Natalie Hemby and Aaron Raitiere, among others, and the fact that East sings with such expressive truthfulness. Delivered with his spine tingling range and instinctive ability to phrase each lyric perfectly for maximum impact, the results are timeless and universally relatable.

Packing vocal chords that have possibly been barbecued for days and then lathered with rich honey, his smoky rasp is equally comfortable letting rip on the super-charged Surrender, declaring unyielding affection during This Too Shall Last or whipping up a stirring storm of gospel emoting for If You Keep Leaving Me.

East’s compositional skillset, meanwhile, comes into its own on tracks that meld modern and traditional, where he demonstrates a canny flair for invention and reinterpretation. The sax-propelled Girlfriend may be a co-write with Avicci that possesses stunning electronic flourishes, but rather than feeling out of place it’s a swaggering mixture of past and present that could be this record’s crossover Trojan horse.

The same could be said for the outstanding All On My Mind. Originally penned by Ed Sheeran and Snow Patrol’s Johnny McDaid, East reworked it to suit his aesthetic, imbuing its potentially generic indie balladry with full-throated passion and raw power. Along similar lines, he’s turned Ted Hawkins’ breezy folk ditty Sorry You’re Sick into a barn storming big band romp and excavates a resilient fortitude from Willie Nelson’s mournful Somebody Pick Up My Pieces.

A heaven sent choir of soulful backing vocals, alongside mesmerising instrumental textures, gift ‘Encore’ with a gorgeously vibrant sonic canvas. Recalling the classy and cool stylings of the legendary Muscles Shoals Rhythm Section, delectable piano passages, swooning strings, agile grooves, whistling organs and a peppering of frisky and feline horns are empathetically performed by musicians whose magical touches will suffocate you before you even realise they’ve stolen your breath.

Whether it’s to do with East’s current relationship or his natural maturation, ‘Encore’ dishes up a more personal, fully rounded and cohesive exploration of the bittersweet complexities of love than ‘Delilah’. With an overarching narrative that navigates devotion, defiance, infatuation and crushing loss, it’s the sound of an artist coming into his own.

Anderson East Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows

Wed January 24 2018 - LONDON Omeara

Click here to compare & buy Anderson East Tickets at Stereoboard.com.





Let Us Know What You Think - Leave A Comment!




You May Also Like:

Forget The Barriers: Goat Girl And The Power of Subverting Expectations
Tue 22 May 2018
Photo: Holly Whitaker Expectations are constantly being placed on Goat Girl, and they just keep quietly subverting them. The band were hyped by London’s music press before they had released their debut single, while a narrative grew around them as a political garage-rock band that was part of a growing scene in south London. They then signed to Rough Trade, and 18 months later their self-titled debut album was released. Here they finally have an opportunity to let the music speak for itself.
How To Be a Real Adult: Common Holly on 'Playing House' and Finding Your Place
Tue 15 May 2018
Photo: Sean Mundy  “We’re all pretending to be adults on a fairly constant basis.” Brigitte Naggar tells it like it is. Her thoughtful, considered debut album as Common Holly, ‘Playing House’, was released in October last year, and although it jogs down the well-trodden break up path, she covers the difficult ground through sparse guitar textures, unexpected math-rock production and truly relatable twentysomething lyricism.
Hip-hop, Not Easy Listening: Lewis Parker On 20 Years of 'Masquerades & Silhouettes'
Thu 07 Jun 2018
For people of a certain generation, English producer Lewis Parker is best known for working with Ghostface Killah and being sampled by Joey Bada$$. Flitting between London and New York, Parker has made his name as one of hip-hop's most respected underground heads, renowned for his impeccable groove-based beats.
Journey of a Wild Heart: Introducing Kashena Sampson
Thu 31 May 2018
She may have been mentioned by Rolling Stone magazine in the same breath as Stevie Nicks, and already had her music compared to Linda Ronstadt, Bobbie Gentry and Jim Croce, but Kashena Sampson is capable of standing on her own two feet. Her debut album, ‘Wild Heart’, showcases a singer-songwriter whose artistic authenticity and integrity is increasingly rare in Nashville these days.
Enjoy the Balance: Collective Soul's Will Turpin Shines on 'Serengeti Drivers'
Tue 05 Jun 2018
Every now and then an album arrives from out of nowhere and instantly brightens up your day. Like rays of sunshine breaking through the clouds, ‘Serengeti Drivers’ – the debut solo album from Collective Soul bassist Will Turpin – is quite simply an unexpected treat. Bursting to the brim with a melodious mix of pop, rock, Americana, funk, soul and AOR, it’s the kind of record summer was invented for.
Timing Is Everything: Davey Newington Talks Boy Azooga's Debut LP '1,2 Kung Fu!'
Wed 06 Jun 2018
Photo: Stella Gelardi Malfilatre More haste, less speed. It’s a lesson a lot of us learn the hard way, and one that has shaped Davey Newington’s trajectory with his latest musical project, Boy Azooga.
Dear Nora - Skulls Example (Album Review)
Thu 31 May 2018
Did Katy Davidson need to bring back Dear Nora? When the project was placed on the shelf in 2008, it had just a handful of records to its name and a presence within the world of west coast DIY indie. Those who would miss it would miss it hard, but most wouldn’t blink an eye. Davidson moved on, enjoying a decade-long spell with Key Losers and Lloyd & Michael while also taking on session and producing work. So, the question remains: why bring back Dear Nora?
Jo Passed - Their Prime (Album Review)
Wed 30 May 2018
‘Their Prime’ is the debut LP from new Sub Pop signings Jo Passed, and it operates as a kind of grunge concept album. Dealing with the gentrification in the band’s hometown of Vancouver, it is a riotous melange of churning guitars and thrashy rhythms, overcast by the fey lyrical mumblings of Jo Hirabayashi.
 
< Prev   Next >