If this record is your introduction to the world of Durand Jones, you’ve picked a particularly electrifying one. The Louisiana-born musician is one of the 21st century’s boldest soul personalities, his time at the forefront of Durand Jones & The Indications coinciding with – and propelling – a renaissance period for the sound, half a century on from the scene’s heydays. The Indiana-formed band have released three records, most notably cult favourite ‘American Love Call’, which NME called “a great American soul record” upon release in 2019.
But ‘Wait Til I Get Over’, a solo venture under his own name, might be his finest hour yet. It was first teased to NME in 2021 as an album that chimes with the smell of “magnolias on a hot summer’s day”, a scent that he says that it reminds him of his hometown: “it has that sweetness, as well as that mustiness – there’s something beautiful there”. By home, Jones is referring to Hillaryville, Louisiana, a community founded by freed slaves following the end of the Civil War following reparations. It’s a fiercely working-class town, one that has experienced plight – the ‘80s crack epidemic – and instilled hard-worn values into its inhabitants like Jones.
- Read more – Durand Jones & The Indications: “Not since the ‘70s has there been such an appetite for soul music”
As such, ‘Wait Til I Get Over’ is gritty but glorious, too. The tenderness of his work with the Indications is somewhat on hold, and we get a rawer Jones as he details the Southern Black experience. There is both harshness and colour in ‘Lord Have Mercy’s propulsive riff, one that masks the tireless grind: “Can you see me in those sad smiling eyes?” he asks. ‘That Feeling’, which he says is “the only love song he’s written for another man”, turns a lo-fi opening into a string-fuelled epic: this is sheer, raw power.
It also bucks a recent trend of familiar-sounding solo albums, and puts clear daylight between his work with the Indications. The inspirations are so varied – gospel, blues, dashes of hip-hop – that it sounds unusual when he strays into existing territory. ‘See It Through’, full of funk flashes, could be a lost Stevie Wonder classic; ‘Letter To My 17 Year Old Self’ fearlessly veers into Thundercat-esque West Coast jazz. It’s rare we see an outlet like this solo record realised as smartly as it is here.
It’s a record that’ll please newcomers and existing fans alike, but, given the backstory and heart poured into ‘Wait Til I Get Over’, the record existing for Jones feels like a triumph. Whether or not he brings these sounds or elements back to the group is yet to be seen, but this record will shake the walls of Hillaryville and beyond.
- Release date: May 5, 2023
- Record label: Dead Oceans