(4 / 5)
You will probably recall an ‘X Rated’ hit back in 2003, from a young US singer called Eamon. That R&B hit was “Fuck It (I Don’t Want You Back)” and shot the kid to super fame and hitting number one in the charts of circa 40 countries.
He went on to sell millions of records globally, but finding it hard to handle the fame and the money, and all that went with “overnight” success, Eamon dropped off the radar, suffering from depression and falling into addiction, adding to legal hassles with business stuff.
But the Staten Island-bred and Los Angeles-based artist, born Jonathan Doyle, is back with a brand new album, after a decade-long hiatus. It is his third album release, and his return sees him absolutely on fire vocally. The whole thing sits on a core foundation of soul and R&B, with heavy nods to old school sounds with a modern day approach in production values. No ‘explicit lyrics’ warnings needed here.
He captures some of his life story and his struggles in some of this material. “I had a problem,” says Eamon.. “I was a young kid with a lot of money who didn’t know how to deal with fame.”
The teaming of Eamon’s voice and Jedi Mind Tricks’ producer Stoupe’s production, was a natural collaboration that is reflected in the music. What started as a couple of feature appearances on a producer album, organically grew into a short EP, and then before long the decision was made to make a full-length LP.
The doo-wop and soul influences are strong throughout, and is the foundation upon which Eamon’s musical upbringing was forged. Music is in his blood; his father was a Staten Island music fixture, with his own doo wop group and instilled in his son an early education in the art of vocalizing. The influence is undeniable, and Eamon’s voice is the soulful instrument that channels the past while inventing a future.
Co-production and instrumentation is handled under the direction of Dan Ubick and his band, Connie Price & The Keystones. Co-producer, co-writer, and vocal arranger/engineer Snipe Young, also left his creative imprint across the entire album with his many contributions. All the songs were co-written by Eamon Doyle.
It’s a very mixed bag of styles, and he dips in and out of retro, old school soul and R&B, modern day R&B, a single track of lover’s rock reggae and even doo wop. The common denominator is Eamon’s sizzling vocal skill. It is well on point and can make the lesser material into something much, much better.
The standout cut for me of the 10, is undoubtedly track # 7: “You And Only You”. A fabulous piece of song writing and an outrageous vocal. The falsetto stuff and this phrasing, is just killer. This just has to be released as a single. I smell a big hit here in the UK for this one. Record label please take heed….. The song would have been a snug fit for the late and great Amy Winehouse, maybe, and is one of the best songs I have heard this year. Trust me, I have to listen to a lot of stuff, daily.
The album is a pretty strong offering, but for me, it spreads itself slightly too thin across too many styles to nail a niche sound, and a personal identity for Eamon, in my humble opinion. But, as said before, his voice really is marvellous. The old school soul and R&B stuff really did it for me, like the first single “Be My Girl,” “Lock Me Down” and “I Got Soul”, with Eamon channelling the likes of Eddie Holman, Al Green, Gladys Knight and the Pips and more……………“Burn It Up” dives into a kind of lover’s rock reggae vibe.
His vocal power and control on the final track, “Requiem” is a bit of a masterclass, where strings and horns meet to crate a crescendo of loveliness, as the song builds to a climax, with almost classical and baroque sections. Play this one LOUD and drown in it.
This is a gifted guy whose troubled past and emotional struggles have made him a stronger man, and given him a new thirst for making music with zero boundaries. “Golden Rail Motel” is an impressive return, and seemingly the start of an exciting new era in Eamon’s career, thankfully giving us all the the chance to experienced one of the best male R&B and soul voices out there. Fuck it (We want you back)!
By Simon Redley
(2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
(3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
(4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
(5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’