Raul Midón ‘Synthesis’ (Emarcy/Universal) 3/5

American-born singer Raul Midón comes from an Anglo-Latino background with Argentine father and American mother and this is very much reflected in the way in which he defies categorisation, sometimes entering soul, pop rock and even folk territories at different moments, though a contemporary acoustic take on R ‘n’ B seems to be his preferred genre. There is in fact something of a 1970s feel to the singer and his influences would seem to include among others the jazzy pop singer Michael Franks, various folk-rock singer-songwriters and even Sting. He may well be being groomed for crossover pop chart territory and if so the jazzy influenced bossa groove of ‘Everyone deserves a second chance’ would be an ideal candidate and by some distance the album’s outstanding track. Another potential song for release as a single is ‘Don’t be a silly man’, where his voice is almost Sting-like while a more sensitive side to the singer is displayed on the mid-tempo ‘When you call my name’. Not everything works such as the pop-rock of ‘Next generation’ or the cod-reggae of ‘Invisible chains’, where Midón may be aiming to reproduce interest that Eric Clapton kindled on ‘I shot the sheriff’. The backing band is impressive to say the least with the cream of session musicians including Larry Goldings on organ, Dean Parks on guitar and Paulinho Da Costa on percussion with overall producer Larry Klein doubling up on drums on some songs. This album may well find a bigger audience in the States, but there is no doubting the talent of the singer who positively revels in diverse musical genres.

Tim Stenhouse