Album of the Week 21-2012: Alain Clark – Generation Love Revival

Talk about reinventing yourself… Alain Clark was on his way to become Holland’s answer to Stevie Wonder with his fantastic previous album ‘Colorblind’. All the ingredients were there: the varied, engaging mixture of Soul and Pop, the message of peace, staying true to your family and love and a versatile vocal delivery by Clark himself. His live shows only cemented that reputation. ‘Generation Love Revival’ also shows an Alain Clark that is too good to stay confined within the Dutch borders, but the first artist that springs to mind this time is Prince. The sexy grooves and sparse vamps make ‘Generation Love Revival’ somewhat of a mixture of Prince’s black album and D’Angelo’s ‘Voodoo’.

Those looking for the carefully orchestrated melodies of ‘Love Is Everywhere’ or ‘Father And Friend’ will be disappointed. When you think ‘Blow Me Away’ was funky – which it was, albeit in a sort of an Isley Brothers kind of way – prepare to have a lesson in what Funk is really about. ‘Generation Love Revival’ is an album carried by rhythm rather than melody. Clark’s bassist Pablo Penton has a co-writing credit in many of these songs and it’s obviously audible. Not that it’s a bad thing, it just needs some adjusting to.

Opening track ‘Best Friends’ is actually gives you quite an accurate idea what the albums going to be like. The bass and drums are the loose, but solid foundation upon which smooth guitar licks weave a pattern. Clark’s voice sounds soft and seductive, yet intense and although most of the track sounds like a vamp, there is definitely a clear verse-chorus structure. Just like Prince or D’Angelo would have done. I’m not saying he sounds exactly like them, it’s just clear that they have a similar vision.

The rest of the album sexily funks around in a similar fashion, with some songs being a bit more electronic (like the title track, with Pete Philly guesting), some being a bit more upfront (‘Two Hands’) and some being a bit more ballad-esque (the excellent bonus track ‘Someone Else’). ‘Let Some Air In’ makes sense as the first single for the album, as it’s probably closest to what Clark did on the two preceding albums, along ‘Someone Else’.

And the performances are just spectacular. No one, however, overpowers the actual songs, not even Clark himself. This may come as a surprise, figuring that he worked with big American names like Pino Palladino and Chris ‘Daddy’ Dave for the album, but on the other hand: these are professionals that really helped Clark lay down his vision.

If the new direction will be met with unanimous praise from his fan base isn’t certain, but ‘Generation Love Revival’ is a daring artistic step. An experiment which eventually proofs to be a success. Clark chose to follow his vision instead of commercial demand and I applaud him for that. The result is an exciting new chapter in his carreer, rather than another album featuring more of the same. An album that is seductive and danceable. As long as D’Angelo is still working on the follow-up to ‘Voodoo’, ‘Generation Love Revival’ will do just as well!

Recommended tracks: ‘Get Your Savvy On’, ‘Two Hands’, ‘Release It’

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