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Curtis Harding – If Words Were Flowers (2021) [Official Digital Download 24bit/48kHz]

Curtis Harding – If Words Were Flowers (2021)
FLAC (tracks) 24bit/48kHz | Time – 00:41:36 minutes | 493 MB | Genre: Soul
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Anti – Epitaph

Curtis Harding has said that his third album is inspired by something his mother—a gospel singer who introduced him to music by Mahalia Jackson and Mavis Staples—used to say: “Give me my flowers while I’m still here.” So he decided to pour out his love and appreciation, via song, for the people he loves before it’s too late. Sometimes, that takes on a romantic bent: Bobbing along on rubber-band bass, “The One” finds Harding crooning, “Baby I’m the one/ Baby I’m the one/ Baby I’m the one you need,” horns ascending along with him. Other times, it’s for family, friends and community. “Hopeful” is a gorgeous, gospel-soul number, in the spirit of the Staples Singers, with majestic strings and a psychedelic breakdown. “Evolution of change to pulsate the mind state/ It’s not impossible for our mission to succeed/ You ask ‘Are we chosen?’/ I’ll say ‘Indeed,'” Harding sing-raps. “All the things that cause casualty to your soul/ Let it go/ Most of all be hopeful.” Since his 2014 debut, Harding has been like a breath of fresh air, borrowing from garage rock, gospel, blues and, especially, the psychedelic soul of the Temptations and Isaac Hayes, to create something new that feels familiar without leaning too retro. (Leon Bridges also does this well.) Harding calls it “slop ‘n’ soul,” as in the messy bits hogs are fed. “Can’t Hide It” lays down a funk riff and insistent drums to go with a Curtis Mayfield style chorus and breakdown. The album’s title track will raise the hair on your neck, it’s so alive with bright trumpet and sax, and a choir that sounds as big as Up With People. “Explore” stretches out on a bed of slow-cruise drums, dirty sax and mid-century futuristic synth, Harding luxuriating in the cool R&B with Eddie Kendricks-style falsetto lines. He adopts an Auto-Tune rap for “So Low,” which opens with spacey synth and a trilling flute that, later in the song, does backflips. “Where’s The Love” snaps like the Temptations. “It’s a Wonder” simmers in a bath of moody strings and dark, shadowy bass. And the gentle folk-and-soul rocker “Forever More” finds both Harding and the high trumpet parting the clouds like beacons of light. – Shelly RIdenour

1. Curtis Harding – If Words Were Flowers
2. Curtis Harding – Hopeful
3. Curtis Harding – Can’t Hide It
4. Curtis Harding – With You
5. Curtis Harding – Explore
6. Curtis Harding – Where’s The Love
7. Curtis Harding – The One
8. Curtis Harding – So Low
9. Curtis Harding – Forever More
10. Curtis Harding – It’s A Wonder
11. Curtis Harding – I Won’t Let You Down


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