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Album review: Mayer Hawthorne, Where Does This Door Go? (Stones Throw/Island)


Blessed with a clear, warm voice that soars on choruses to a pure high-register croon, and all-round instrumental skills to rival Stevie Wonder, Mayer Hawthorne is a blue-eyed R&B prodigy admired even by those whose crown he threatens, such as Justin Timberlake.

Hawthorne's muse is steeped in '70s influences — notably falsetto and symphonic-soul giants like Curtis Mayfield and Barry White, while trailing threads of piercing lead guitar through songs like “Wine Glass Woman” and “Corsican Rose” bring to mind Ernie Isley's work on “Summer Breeze”. Elsewhere, the buttoned-down guitar and jazzy electric piano of “Back Seat Lover” and “Reach Out Richard” recall Steely Dan.

Download: Back Seat Lover; Corsican Rose; Where Does This Door Go?; Reach Out Richard