Andrew Roachford, Addictive (M3 Records, 2011)

He's still an extremely well-kept secret in the United States, but UK soul singer Andrew Roachford has been making records for over twenty years now.  He was originally the leader of the group Roachford, with whom he created a unique blend of old-school soul and brazen hard rock which, to the group's commercial detriment, defied easy categorization.  Songs like "Cuddly Toy (Feel for Me)" and "How Could I (Insecurity)" would be universally regarded as the classics that they are in a better world, but that was not the band's fate.  Andrew Roachford has soldiered on as a solo artist in the past decade, with his latest effort Addictive coming out in 2011.

For better or worse, Roachford's music has mellowed out over the years.  He's made a point of showing his sensitive side more, but there are points on Addictive where I kind of wish the combative bad-ass from the debut Roachford album back in 1988 would come barging into the room.  Not that there's anything really wrong with Addictive; Roachford remains a first rate pop songwriter, and the only really weak song, "The Doctor," is actually the most aggressive track on the album.  It's just that most of the album is a little too mid-tempo.  Having said that, "Old Friend" and "Complicated" are solid pop songs. Roachford has always worn his soul influences on his sleeve, and on this album he channels Al Green particularly well with the song "Precious Love." He saves the best song on the album for last, though, with the rousing closer "Wishing You Knew." 

There is still plenty of room in contemporary pop and rock for some music rooted in the classic soul music of the sixties and seventies. At his best, Andrew Roachford has been a match for most of his influences. Addictive isn't overwhelming, but it does show that Roachford is still writing and singing worthy songs nearly a quarter century into his career.

Overall grade: B

reviewed by Scott

the video for "Wishing You Knew"

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