Detroit is a hotbed for noncommercial talent, so its timely that Cello an unabashedly mainstream R&B singer from the Motor City via the Bahamas is waving a radio-friendly flag, and is headed straight for Billboards R&B charts.
This picks up where his 2004 debut, Imported, left off. Its cleanly produced and slickly packaged, complete with relaxed arrangements and a Caribbean twist. Cellos vocals and arrangements recall DAngelo, but he distinguishes himself with bits of heavy dancehall DJing over tracks driven by crisp kick drums, and staccato bass and guitar licks.
The guitar-driven Shorty Got It! kicks the album into gear, but Cello quickly downshifts to the smooth and easy Hot Butta Soul and Cant Deny. Brutha (I Luv Ya) is a respectable spin on Angie Stones 2003 hit, Brother. You Used To, Cant Deny and Its Over all feature the dancehall cameos the first two are funky, but Its Over is angry and sounds too forced, its vibe tired. The album loses steam on Mami Mami, which is dated by seven years (think R. Kellys Fiesta). Of 14 full songs, 12 can sound-track any date. Good album.
Khary Kimani Turner writes about music for Metro Times. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.