Hawthorne continues his exploration of vintage soul, but this time he's moved ahead in time, from the late 60's - early 70's to the late part of the decade, and into the 80's and beyond. The beats picked up, thanks to disco, and so did the sex talk. Hawthorne follows suit, and this one's all about seduction and such, like he was hanging with the early Prince, cruising the Purple Rain dance clubs.
Previously a champion of his Michigan home sound of Motown on his stunning first two albums, now Hawthorne feels free to go further, and follow soul to its next editions. If that includes melding it with rap (Crime), he's up for that, and ready to drop some cut-up atmosphere along the way too. But as experimental as he feels, it never gets too far from the pop charts, and if you hear hints of Steely Dan on The Stars Are Ours, you'll get that the guy is a lover of high-quality hooks.
No matter how far he goes into the funky sex machine, it his voice that captivates. Hawthorne's a great soul singer, and it's a joy to hear him through each change of pace here. Far more than a retro stylist, this is intricately crafted, insanely catchy and definitely feel-good.