Durand Jones and The Indications’ “American Love Call” is Best Album of 2019 (so far)

Photo Credit: Sonic Highlark

It was 8 pm on Thursday at Stubbs Austin when Durand Jones and The Indications took the stage for one of their SXSW sets. Standing next to us was Clementine Creevy, guitarist and lead vocalist of Cherry Glazerr, who was scheduled to go on stage at 9 pm. Perhaps she came out to survey the crowd she was about to perform in front of. However, as Durand Jones and The Indications took the stage, she, like the rest of us, started to sway. There was a chill in the air as the sunset, and the blue lights hit the stage.  The soulful sounds of Durand Jones took over. It was one of those SXSW iconic moments. It was one of those moments that so correctly set the tone for the evening that would bring Cherry Glazerr, Car Seat Headrest, King Princess and end with the insatiable Lizzo.

Durand Jones and The Indications performed songs off their latest album, “American Love Call”. “American Love Call” which dropped March 1st is an exquisite, stoic soul album that feels so embedded in America’s DNA that you feel you have heard each song before. From its first song “Morning in America,” which feels like Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come,”

Durand Jones and The Indications take you on a nostalgic journey through America’s heartland that isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. And one that does not work for everyone. It’s as perfect of a song today as it would have been 50 years ago. The struggles Americans face are real, and they are not going away. The song feels more mourning than morning, especially when they perform live. Jones stares into the audience with his hands folded across his chest. As if he is judging us. However, in turn we judge America right back.  It’s a wake-up call to everything that there are multiple Americas and not everyone is thriving.

Photo Credit: Sonic Highlark

Durand Jones and The Indications’ “American Love Call” is as retro as it’s current. There is not a weak moment on the album. It is too familiar for there to be on. Song like “Don’t You Know,” “True Love,” “Circles,” are so calming to listen to.

One of it’s strongest tracks, “Long Way Home,” should be the anthem for today. A song that Jones said, “I felt like it really went with something I was writing in my journal, a reflection on my experience with the justice system in America… Aaron [Fraser] liked what I had and added his own perspective to it, about refugees, immigrants and the systemic obstacles they face on arrival. I can’t help but think of the brothers and sisters in America’s prison system whose lives are ruined over minor convictions. How some of my friends at home now navigate their young adult lives as felons, and all the barriers— social, political and economic— that come along with that. I also think of how we are not walking these trials alone. And if you’re willing to give a hand to help something, it usually comes back around when you need it. We have to show up for each other.”

Although early, Durand Jones and the Indications has the best, most structured, and most organically beautiful album of 2019.

 

Photo Credit: Sonic Highlark