Eagle-Eye Cherry

Sony, 1998

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray


After his father (jazz great Don Cherry) and sister (Neneh Cherry) hit it big, it was only a matter of time before Eagle-Eye cut a record. And yes, that is his real name, derived from how he looked at his father when he was born.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Desireless, Cherry's first of two albums, is a holdover from the alternative boom of the mid-90's, when grunge had run its course. Cherry fits comfortably alongside Hootie, Train and Matchbox 20, but aside from the hit single "Save Tonight," nothing on here really stands out.

In fact, Cherry sounds just like so many male singer/songwriters of the last 10 years -- sensitive males who sing about relationships against mid-tempo acoustic guitars. The difference is that Cherry never sounds as contrived as his contemporaries sometimes do (how could "Your Body Is A Wonderland" not be a hit?), and his voice and music have a bit more soul than one would expect.

There are times he breaks the mold, and the results are entertaining. "Worried Eyes" brings in backup female singers and sets the words against a country-tinged beat occasionally punctuated by a slide guitar and strings. "Rainbow Wings" uses reggae influences instead of normal percussion and "Conversation" has a slight 70s pop feel that keeps it interesting.

And the closing title track mixes jazz and African-type vocals in what must be a tribute to Cherry's late father. No singing here, or acoustic guitars, just an atmospheric nightclub or upscale coffeeshop feel, and it closes the album on a melancholy note.

But the test of an album is if it can keep one's attention or distract them from whatever they are doing. The urgency of "Save Tonight" is able to do this, but the rest of the album falters. It's not that Cherry isn't talented -- indeed, he has a good voice, and is able to write songs. It's just that the album as a whole fails to catch fire and rise above standard singer/songwriter fare.

Rating: C-

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