Turning the page on 2020 wasn’t as easy as watching the clock turn over, apparently. I’ve gotta do more than that to get me out of that year and into this one. Well, friends, let me tell you one thing that has helped me do that, despite the bad first few weeks of the year: the Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio‘s I Told You So. This funky, joyful record is a collection of 9 sunshine rays that have helped put some dark clouds in the past (even though we still live amid very dark clouds).
The trio is organ, guitar, and drums. Lamarr does double duty by holding down half of the backline and half of the topline. Lamarr’s left hand throws down bass walks that mesh perfectly with drummer Dan Weiss’ solid rhythms, while his right hand trades melody lines in duels with guitarist Jimmy James. Sprightly opener “Hole in One” shows off this dual action neatly, with Lamarr’s bass and treble lines going in opposite directions simultaneously. It tricked me on first listen into thinking this was a quartet with a misnomer. (Shoutout to the Ben Folds Five.) The confident strut of lead single “Call Your Mom” follows, with James’ guitar getting a prominent solo feature. The easygoing pace and chill-funk vibe give it some Khruangbin vibes, surprisingly. (“From The Streets” and “Aces” pull this same trick, pleasantly.)
“Girly Face” boasts some jazzy vibes, coming from the Wurlitzer-esque keys that back up the guitar lines. “Fo Sho” returns to featured organ, keeping some of those jazz vibes in a joyful mode. Throughout all these songs, it’s hard for me to keep a smile off my face; whether fast or slow, these songs are full-up with good vibes. That smile turned to gleeful laughter with the appearance of “Careless Whisper” (yes, THAT “Careless Whisper”). The stereotypically cheesy ’80s ballad to end all stereotypically cheesy ’80s ballad is treated lovingly here, like a joke that starts out ironic and slowly becomes a honest tribute. It’s still a hilarious choice, no matter how slow-burning the trio manages to make it.
The record closes with the infectiously fun romp “Right Place, Right Time” and the funk thousand of “I Don’t Know.” Lamarr is in full form on the latter, laying down headbobbing bass lines and tight solo lines with ease. The closer and the album as a whole comprise an impressive demonstration of this trio’s wide-ranging capabilities. That rare type of record that’s fun, classy, and full of chops. A great start to 2020 for me, and hopefully for you. The record drops January 29 on Colemine Records.