Review - Can't Hold Back

Artist: Georg Levin

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Can't Hold Back
Label: Sonar Kollektiv
Media: CD
Format: Album
WorkNameSort: Can't Hold Back

Although he's had a few 12-inches circulating since 2001, "Can't Hold Back" is Georg Levin's first full-length solo and an impressive one at that. I was surprised to read that he's from Berlin; he sounds as if he's from New York (or Chicago, perhaps). Although his sound is obviously influenced by Motown, it can't be pigeonholed into one genre, except possibly "nü-jazz," however you define that. My first comparison was to Steely Dan, but Levin is much heavier on the beat, sometimes in a near-trippy way. The lyrics, mostly on the subject matter of relationships (another point where Steely Dan comparisons end), are a bit flat, but they work, thanks to Levin's great sense of timing and rhyming. The timing, in fact, is superb: Steady beats interweave guitar, synth, horns and hooks into smooth, jazzy compositions with a lot of groove. Recommended.

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