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Erin Costelo: We Can Get Over

Reviewed By: Malcolm Carter
Label: Erin Costelo
Format: CD

There have been a number of recent albums where female singers have made a mighty fine job of recreating the soul sounds of the early 60’s. Kristina Train’s ‘Dark Black’ brilliantly captures the spirit of that golden era in music. There are songs on Eva Petersen’s ‘Emerald Green Eyes’ that almost get there too. The fact that both artists have been compared to Dusty Springfield speaks volumes about where they are coming from.

‘We Can Get Over’ is Canadian Erin Costelo’s third album it would appear, and, if her previous two albums just had a fraction of the soul and passion which Erin displays on each song here, then it’s to my shame and more than a little annoying that they never reached these ears.

Yes, this sounds like it was recorded in the 60s, but unlike a lot of the current young pretenders Erin actually sounds like the real deal. There is nothing false about the songs or the emotion Erin reveals in her vocals. There are none of the vocal gymnastics that apparently pass for being able to sing these days. Erin’s warm, rich vocals need no messing with. She keeps it real and the album is all the more appealing for that. As soon as Erin starts singing on opening track, ‘Oh Me Oh My’, there is no doubting that here is the soul singer we’ve all been waiting for.

With nine of the ten songs being Costelo originals, Erin shows that she’s not only an exceptional singer but also a songwriter who knows how to write classic, timeless songs. Maybe the song that Erin chose to cover tells even more about this incredible singer. ‘Too Young to be Fooled’ was tucked away on the B-side of Barbara and Brenda’s (Gaskins) ‘If I’m Hurt You’ll Feel The Pain’. The song was written by Luther Dixon along with the Gaskins (an Auntie and niece duo). The etherealness of the original is retained, but Erin adds a contemporary edge while losing none of the song’s charm, while the original sounds obviously incredibly dated today Erin’s interpretation allows the song to flow naturally with the rest of her newly written album. It’s an inspired and fantastic reading of a long forgotten song.

Erin also produced ‘We Can Get Over’. It is hard to believe that it is Erin’s first production credit. Take a song like ‘Give a Little’. It is difficult to imagine even any of the young pretenders making a bad job of such a brilliant song, but Erin’s arrangement, production, deft use of strings and well-placed backing vocals can’t fail but bring to mind the best of Burt Bacharach. It is that good. For all the backward glances that Erin has introduced into these songs, they still sound of the moment. While Erin has recorded these songs in a style that has tried to be reinvented many times now, no artist has delivered the goods like Erin has.

‘Everybody Wants To Be (in Love)’ is the song to begin with if you want proof of just how powerful Erin’s vocals are. Dripping with emotion, those backing vocalists once again show just how it should be done and co-writer Clive MacNutt’s guitar recalls the best Southern Soul sides of the sixties.

‘Let It Go’ follows in the same vein, and is another little soul gem that you just don’t hear enough of these days. There are traces of jazz and blues sprinkled over some of these songs, but this is a soul album and that’s not just because of Erin’s emotive vocals. It is also down to the production, Erin’s keyboard skills, MacNutt’s incredible feel for the guitar and those amazing backing singers.

It’s December and, although those best of the year lists have more or less been completed, Erin Costelo has turned in an album that just demands to be included. Ten songs, brilliant performances from all concerned, proper songs and a vocalist who must rank in the top five of any best vocalist list, ‘We Can Get Over’ is one of 2012’s best, and will continue to shine for years to come.


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