Jack Freeman Pours It Smooth On Dark Liquor EP
No guest appearance on a song this year has prompted more of a "Holy Christ, Who Is This Guy?" response than R&B singer Jack Freeman's feature on The Niceguys' "Not At All" a song that is impressive in its own right. He was just about perfect on it, and very nearly claimed the song as his own. And we shoveled a ton of praise on him for it.
We suppose that that, along with the single he released, was reason enough to anticipate mostly good things from his then-forthcoming Dark Liquor EP. But nobody not named Jack Freeman's Mom expected it to be this good. Nobody. Nobody.
It is, in short, excellent; six songs saturated with heart and sexiness and allure and magnetism. If it's indicative of what Freeman will be able to do on a full-length album, consider him to have just leapfrogged a whole heap other local artists in terms of national recognition potential.
Some notes on Dark Liquor:
• After his work on "Not At All," we were entirely expecting this EP hail from the Anthony Hamilton School Of R&B; all retro and raspy charm and heartbroken earnestness. At moments, there are hints of that there. But it's decidedly more D'Angelo-ian in its totality; lots of sexed up sexiness (but not corny sexiness, which is important) and mystery. More on that...
• The structure of Dark Liquor is abstract, straying from the verse-hook-verse blueprint in several parts. It helps to relay the apparent passion Freeman has bubbling in his blood. It's like sometimes he simply can't wait to get the part of the song where he's supposed to be waiting to get to before he starts singing; he HAS to sing and he has to sing RIGHT NOW GODDAMMIT. It's a powerful tool for an R&B singer to have at his disposal, and Freeman shows a knack for leaning on it without marginalizing it.