Album: Mayer Hawthorne, A Strange Arrangement (Stones Throw)

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The Independent Culture

It's doubtful whether soul music is supposed to be this wimp-voiced or nerdily obsessive, but 29-year-old bedroom auteur Hawthorne – who writes, produces and plays many of the instruments himself – has created a deliciously vulnerable sound and persona that's as close to the Brian Wilson of "In My Room" as it is to Marvin or Smokey.

The up-tempo groovers don't have quite the Motown snap they need, but for a debut this is pretty amazing stuff. Amy Winehouse's ears will be wiggling in the direction of Michigan.