Record Review - Darien: If These Walls Could Talk

While boatloads struggle to be Stevie Wonder, Donny Hathaway or Marvin Gaye, one Mount Vernon, N.Y., artist is lifting the gentleman-soul mantle from Peabo Bryson’s tight grasp. On his auto-tunes-free debut, Darien effortlessly displays the kind of likeable R&B chops rarely heard since Bryson became Disney’s go-to guy. Melodious urban contemporary grooves jump through the speakers with several breathtaking highs, including the well-orchestrated “Composure” and “All Kinds of Things.” In a just world, the elegant bumper “Composure” would have already benefited from more hype. Thanks to solid musicianship, lovers’ lane lyricism, and head-bangers like “Gone,” Darien’s freshman project is one cohesive, well-oiled machine. The road of an indie artist, however talented, is hard, and Darien’s debut stumbled for a year to find distribution. But hopefully, listeners will reward his artistic tenacity by keeping his CD on repeat. (Righteous Music Records) 5 stars out of 5