Move by Yourself
First Appeared in The Music Box, July 2006, Volume 13, #7
Written by John Metzger
"Earthy" doesnít begin to describe the easy-going ebb and flow that settles around Donavon Frankenreiterís sophomore outing Move by Yourself. Amicably breaking his ties to singer-songwriter Jack Johnson, Frankenreiter turned his surfer-bred breeziness inside-out, and in the process, he discovered the sunny, í70s R&B flavors that lurked beneath the surface of his self-titled debut. The title track from his new effort is slathered in the kind of driving funk that once was peddled by Stevie Wonder; awash in syrupy strings, The Way It Is glistens with the smooth sounds of Philly soul; and built around a slinky, blues-inflected groove, Foolís crisply polished, yet undeniably loose atmosphere places it within the same realm as Steely Danís Hey Nineteen.
The problem, however, is that Move by Yourself quickly runs its course because Frankenreiter spends the bulk of the 45-minute disc making only minor modifications to what essentially is the same basic formula. Orbiting around Bill Withersí blend of folk and soul, he plays with whatever permutations he can dream up ó adding, for example, Joe Cocker and The Black Crowes to All of Us, sprinkling shades of Ben Harper through Right by Your Side, and grafting a touch of Van Morrison onto Everytime. Still, thereís an overall air of redundancy to the material thatís difficult to shake, largely because his attempts at finding himself arenít fully realized.
Regardless, Move by Yourself is, to Frankenreiterís credit, a far more interesting affair than his debut happened to be. Better still, it proves not only that he is fearlessly ambitious enough to tinker with his style in order to find what works best for him but also that he has the wherewithal to avoid succumbing to the generic machinations of the music industry as he searches for his first big hit.
Move by Yourself is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2006 The Music Box