Two-thirds of the way through his watery offering Still Called the Blues, Quintus McCormick commits a faux pas that neatly sums up everything wrong about this album: he attempts a cover of the Beatles’ “Oh! Darling”. That song in its original is a fine example of usurping expectations: Paul McCartney was never known as a screecher or a howler, but for that tune he reportedly practiced his screaming for a month before entering the studio, and the results are there to hear.
Low-key crooning is McCormick’s default vocal setting, and its use on this song couldn’t be further removed from McCartney’s wrenching pain. Herein lies the problem with this record: it’s too damn smooth. It’s smooth in the bluesiness of opening track “I Gotta Go” — which admittedly features some nifty, gurgling guitar work — and it’s smooth in the neo-disco abomination that is “Searching For Your Love”. It’s smooth everywhere in between, too, whether in the bluesy showmanship of “Everybody Knows About My Good Thing” or the R&B stylings of “Always”. Sorry, Quintus; stuff like “Always” and “Searching For Your Love” was never called the blues.
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