Coming from an unknown town in Surrey, I got used to telling people that I live near our nearest big town, which happens to be Croydon. Not the epitome of street-cred, understandably, as it is most famous for the Blue Orchid, Ikea, Purley Way, the Whitgift Centre, Ann Summers and Dane Bowers. Ouch. So on finding out that Sean Escoffery is another pretending to be from the crib, I decided to take the plunge and see if anything/any one from Croydon can actually be cool.
A sonic explosion of beats, jazz, gospel and drums plays background to the foray of Escoffery’s rich, smoky voice, which reminds me, of a good cup of coffee. Comfy, attractive crescendo’s and waves of sound permeate in the right places on ‘Days Like These’. The lyrics are, perhaps unfortunately, overshadowed by Escoffery’s showmanship. A funkier psuedo-Jamiroquai sound is the backbone of ‘Space Rider’, a likeable showing, and possible single. Cool is again, the order of the day, on the chilled out, trip-hop experimental of ‘Let Go’, which would not sound amiss on a Trickbaby album. Ethereal orchestral whirls versus a Spanish guitar interlude juxtapose with a gospel arrangement on ‘Breaking Away’, which is definitely a sign that Escoffery is sincere and here to stay, with his soaring vocals and adventurous composition.
More sincerity can be found on ‘Hurts Too Good’ that is eerily reminiscent of the Boyzone tune, ‘Picture of You’, which is indeed a chilling prospect. Does album goes downhill from here? What if Sean Escoffery is secretly the black Ronan Keating, hiding behind a façade of Ikea-cool? Doubts race though my mind, and are thankfully put to rest by the slowed down, Jamiroquai-wannabe two, the pleasant enough ‘Into the Blue’ and Artful Dodger-esque, unfortunately titled ‘Conversation of the Heart’.
‘Ordinary Day’ is a pleasant strum-along, which, although sounding remarkably like the lovechild of the Lighthouse Family and Sting, is made likeable on the strength of the vocalist. ‘Windows’ is the token slowie, being precisely the kind of track that I know I don’t like, but again, the vehicle of his voice takes me through to the Turin Brakes cum Lionel Ritchie to the final track, the slightly disappointing, yet affable enough gospel shiner ‘Give Everything’.
In true Croydon style, Escoffery can’t hold it up there with the best of them.
6Sajini Wijetilleka's Score