Who We Are

Nick Moran

Independent release, 2013

http://www.nickmoran.com

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 04/12/2013

Growing up in Long Island, singer/songwriter Nick Moran found inspiration among legends like Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles and James Brown. Now based in New York City, Moran funnels those influences into his own brand of playful, upbeat blues and funk, even approaching a more pop-based jazz sound on occasion. Though my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Who We Are may be Moran's debut, his flawless vocals and timeless melodies make him sound like a seasoned vet of the genre.

Though there is much emphasis on Moran's healthy set of pipes, a slew of backing musicians help him along the way, as trombones, trumpets, organs, pianos and saxophones are all on board. The large amount of contributions allow the seven songs here to all carry different textures while still very much being a result of Nick Moran's creative mind.

The blues ideas are fleshed out in the opener “Out Of My Control,” where vivid horns match the smooth singing; this continues on with “Alright Blues.” These two tracks are both soulful and pop spirited, bringing to mind a more blues version of Jason Mraz. By “Going To Waste,” things slow down a bit, almost entering ballad territory, showing Moran's impressive vocal range. “Leave With Ease” follows the subdued theme among the middle tracks, starting off acoustic before branching out and often reminding me of Ryan Adams on Prozac.

The title track turns the volume up again and is the rowdiest tune here. Some funk leaning are included and the chorus is immediately memorable; if a TV show or commercial picked this song up, there's little doubt it could propel Moran into superstardom – the song is just that strong. “Song For Some” closes things out sparsely, Moran's voice being matched by the stripped-down instrumentation, perhaps reminding us that this album is entirely Moran's vision.

Singer-songwriters may be a dime a dozen these days, but few are taking the route that Moran is, as his version of contemporary soul that alternates from a big band feel to quieter, intimate, folk pop moments makes for a highly engaging debut.

Rating: B

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