Mayer Hawthorne, 'A Strange Arrangement' (Stones Throw)

7
A Strange Arrangement
Critical Mass
Label: Stones Throw

by Sean Fennessey

If honky soul is having an extended moment thanks to Justin Timberlake, Robin Thicke, and Jamie Lidell, Mayer Hawthorne probably has no clue. Hawthorne (né Andrew Cohen) is trapped in a time-stop circa 1976, and his immaculate debut is replica music, constructed and buffed to a high sheen. Drawing on Holland-Dozier- Holland's crisp, 180-second soul classics, the Michigan-born Hawthorne gorgeously apes the Temptations on "I Wish It Would Rain" and "Just Ain't Gonna Work Out." There's hardly an original thought here, but with arrangements so expertly composed, who's complaining?

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