Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Commotions - Volume II

The Commotions - Volume II 

Great R&B/soul acts like this are scarce on the 2017’s music scene. This form, complete with horns and a strong blues influence, is often viewed as a retro or archaic musical style lacking any modern relevancy. While it has seemingly fallen out of commercial favor, the artistic potential of the music has never been exhausted and it is as true as ever that bringing something of yourself to the music is essential for making this style rise above its vast past. The Commotions’ songwriting brings that quality to the fore along with a depth of intelligence informing every aspect that’s quite unlike anything we’ve heard from the genre in many years. The Commotions hail from the Ottawa, Canada area but their upbringing in the Great White North doesn’t seem to impede their understanding of such an inherently American form. Volume II blows their fine debut release out of the water and the sprawling nature of the release isn’t taxing at all – instead, it comes off as a true creative outpouring.
“Good Enough” nicely winds up and gets off to a sweeping start with Noelle’s singing backed up by some great backing vocals. The good attitude coming off of this performance is impossible to ignore and Noelle taps into that energy without ever dominating or obscuring the musical quality. The horns are a big part of why this song succeeds with such ease. It’s a great beginning. :Masquerade” will make a great live song and promises to be one of the album’s best chances to garner some radio play. There’s more of an instrumental quality driving this song than the orchestral approach you hear on many of the other songs included with this release. Noelle gives us one of her best vocals with the song “Let Me Kiss You, Baby” and it raises the musical fire of the song up several degrees thanks to the way the players feed off her vocal pyrotechnics. “Too Little, Too Late” is another great uptempo number and pairs up nicely with the aforementioned song. Jeff Rogers gives a nicely soulful vocal performance on the song “Say Yes to Me Tonight”, but this song might have benefitted from being slowed down a little further.  His vocal for the song should pick up its energy level a little, but there’s no such quibbles with the song “Right Kind of Wicked” and Rogers digs deep with this one in a way that will leave few, if any, unimpressed.  
Rogers scores again with the bluesy “Don’t Walk Away”, but there’s some funkier elements sneaking their way into that track. The band’s one attempt at a slower, more intimate ballad comes with “Loving You” and it affords listeners a nice change of pace from the across the board liveliness of the earlier songs. The final cut “Come Clean” is a Rebecca Noelle gem with the same bluesy atmospherics as the earlier “Don’t Walk Away” but forsaking the funky aspects. There’s something on this album for everyone. The Commotions’ Volume II has ambition to burn, but they keep things accessible throughout and are definitely out to please the audience.  

Laura Dodero

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