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Dick Aven

The Dick Aven Band - Spin So Long

Review by Gary Hill

The mix of sounds on this set is so cool. There is a lot of retro jazz and soul built into the sonic tapestry. Yet, there are also more contemporary things here. Every single tune is effective. My only complaint is that it almost feels bipolar, with the opening section seeming more retro and the second half more modern. It think it might be a stronger release if things had been mixed up a little. It does start to feel just a little samey near the end, too, and I think that perhaps a rearranging of tracks would help with that. Also, the two closing pieces are the instrumentals of the disc. If the first of those were moved closer to the center of the set, I think it would have made for a stronger release as a whole. Still, a lot of people just listen to one or two songs at a time these days rather than a complete album at once.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2022  Volume 2. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2022.

Track by Track Review
Stirred Up
Starting a bit mellow, this cut works out to a killer soulful groove that has some jazz in the mix. It's a really classy tune and a great way to start things in style.
Weightless
I love the trippy, jazzy groove on this number. I'm reminded a little of Lenny Kravitz' first album here. This is so tasty. It's a bit mellower than the opener, but also packed full of funk and soul.
Fly Into The Fire
The horn brings something interesting to the table here. The soul meets alternative rock vibe here works really well. This feels both timeless and contemporary at once.
It's Something
While a lot of the familiar concepts are back here, I can also make out hints of The Beatles (think Rubber Soul era) and War on this track. It's a classy, sultry tune with a killer horn solo.
Spin So Long

While the classic soul and jazz elements remain here, somehow this tune feels a little more modern. It has a great mid-tempo groove and some cool hooks and melodies.

Under Her Stars
This has a great jazzy pop groove. There are some soaring, almost dreamy elements at play, too. It's a highlight of the set for me.
Bad Dogs and Weed
I dig this cut a lot. I'd consider it another standout. It's one of the most contemporary sounding things here. In fact, while there is still some horn on this tune, I don't really think I can hear the soul edge to the number at all. This is more of a modern pop rocker. The horn does put in some tasty exploration, though.
Unglued
Another that feels more modern, this seems to move toward an almost space rock sound at points. It still has the horn and other elements at play, though.
Aging In Place
This mid-tempo groove seems to do a good job of combining the modern and retro. It has a bit of a spacey, psychedelic vibe. The only issue here is that the formula is stating to wear a little thin.
Deacon Bones
I really enjoy this instrumental piece. It has a lot of jazz in the mix. It's a classy jam.
Spinning Outro
Here we get another short instrumental with both jazz and mellow rock in the mix. It's a classy way to end things.
 
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