[13 October 2009]
Rob Murat, a multi-talented, up-and-coming artist, is another link in the chain for contemporary soul’s recent resurgence. Even though So Much To Say dropped in 2008, it never received the push it needed until now. And there is no better time than now, especially with such fine soul/R&B efforts as the Foreign Exchange’s Leave It All Behind and Maxwell’s Blacksummers’night still receiving ample airplay. That’s not to say Murat’s album stacks up directly to those two stellar releases, but it at least proves he could one day reach those heights.
Let’s get one other thing out of the way. Murat’s vocals, at times, sound reminiscent of fellow contemporary soulman John Legend. Unlike Legend, Murat knows his range and doesn’t overextend himself on the microphone. Instead, he resides more comfortably over tracks in his smooth, almost conversational tone. If nothing else, it’s refreshing to hear an artist who doesn’t try to shoot down the stars. Like many soul singers of his breed, Murat’s lyrics aren’t entirely engrossing, but he delivers them with the necessary passion and honesty to ensure they are driven home.
You will no doubt fall for his brighter songs, like the spiritual and loving “Celebrate” and the aptly titled, Amanda Diva-featured “Mr. Soulman”. It’s his slower tracks that don’t resonate quite as strongly. “Something Magical”, though certainly nice musically, falls short vocally and lyrically. Murat balances that weak spot with a similarly toned, but much better-written “Until It’s Over”. While it’s not without its average-to-weak moments, So Much To Say remains a fine overall effort from clearly a talented artist. Fans of soul and R&B who have become nauseated over the auto-tuned offerings on the radio will no doubt swoon over Murat’s songwriting and vocals, but he still has some work to do before winning over a more diverse crowd.