Picks and Pans Review: Soul Searchin'
updated 10/10/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 10/10/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT
You might buy an album from this guy but never a used car. Ex-Eagle Frey creates handsome, nicely turned songs, little gems that possess not a whit of warmth or sincerity. That lack is most glaring on this on-again, off-again tribute to modern soul music. (The toggle switch is installed so that Frey can drop the R&B premise to make a number of straight stabs at Top 40 too.) While Frey's solo work has proved as popular as that of former bandmate Don Henley, it doesn't have the intelligence and feeling that mark Henley's records. Frey has a voice that shifts unexpectedly between angrily clenched and softly laminated. That vacillation only serves to underscore the feeling that everything he does is (not to put too fine a point on it) phony. He's also blessed with just enough talent to be dangerous. True Love, his takeoff on the Memphis sound of the Reverend Al Green, is a great groove locked in by meaty organ licks and smoky horns. There's a real 70s bubblegum-soul feel to Let's Pretend We're Still in Love. And you can regard Working Man as either pseudo-Springsteen or full-fledged John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band. These songs are awful pretty, but blatantly contrived. If one fine morning Frey should decide to embark on the inner odyssey suggested by the album's title, you can rest assured he'll be back empty-handed and in time for lunch. (MCA)