Having already recorded a soulful take on Americana for his debut, 2002’s Momentary Setback, and having dropped “Home,” a blistering slice of gospelized swamp funk that’s among the decade’s most remarkable singles and which became something of a regional post-Katrina mini-anthem (and a staple cover song on Kelly Clarkson’s Addicted tour), for Marc Broussard to record a straight-up R&B album isn’t such a radical departure. S.O.S.: Save Our Soul finds the powerhouse singer in fine voice (Justin Timberlake only wishes he had such a full-bodied falsetto) on a collection of classic genre cuts like Stevie Wonder’s “You Met Your Match” and Al Green’s “Love And Happiness.” Though none of his arrangements are particularly inventive, Broussard’s enthusiasm and aptitude for this material are foregrounded by his spirited performances, and few of his contemporaries in modern R&B could tackle these songs so commandingly. It’s encouraging that the song selection generally eschews many obvious standards and it speaks to Broussard’s strengths as a writer that the one original tune, “Come In From The Cold,” fits comfortably alongside the rest, S.O.S. is ultimately a singer’s showcase. While Broussard is certainly one of the best soul singers to emerge in recent memory, S.O.S. still feels too much like a rote genre exercise from an artist who has already proven that he’s capable of something far more inspired.
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