Shawn Lee: Sing A Song

Shawn Lee: Sing A Song

Shawn Lee records and releases albums at a pace that few beside Robert Pollard could match, but at least Lee tries to make each one distinctive. His latest, Sing A Song, features vocalists on every track, and leaves aside Lee’s usual internationalist “soundtrack jazz” in favor of retro soul that wouldn’t sound too out of place on Daptone—that is, if Daptone were more interested in psychedelic-ified ’70s R&B rather than the sweaty, rootsy ’60s kind. Not that Lee stays completely committed to the bit; “Fade Up” has a spacey, futuristic feel, while the oddball ballad “I’ll Just Wait A While” shifts from acoustic moaning to wacked-out lounge music. But for the most part, Sing A Song leans more toward songs along the lines of the deeply funky Robert Bradley collaboration “Fading Light” and the bongo-riffic, distorted “Who Are You?” Sing A Song relies too much on novelty numbers like the one-joke “Christopher Walken On Sunshine” and the doo-wop piss-take “Swimming Pool,” but when Lee constructs a soul song as classic-sounding as “It Takes Two”—with its tin-can Marcus Malone vocals and bright chimes—he takes care to get the atmosphere as correct as the orchestration.

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