WRITER Jason Jules
Let’s call it blue-eyed soul. Right about now, the term could do with an upgrade and a bit of a dust off – and besides, despite being 30 years after the fact, these guys tick virtually all the required blue-eyed soul boxes. Firstly, they’re from LA, the land of smooth, radio-friendly late ’70s and early ’80s pop. Secondly, their songs are easy on the ear – they’re about love and life and sung in a smooth, wistful West Coast way that makes you feel good, no matter how sad. Thirdly, like all of the very best blue-eyed soul outfits they’re a duo. They also have the advantage of being related. Inc. are brothers Andrew Aged (guitar, vocals) and Daniel Aged (bass, vocals). Like any self-respecting blue-eyed soulsters their look goes against expectation, no predictable suits, shirts and ties – despite their smooth, urbane musicality they look like renegades on the run from a Raf Simons catwalk show. But what nails it is the name. It’s a given that the best blue-eyed soul groups had really, really bad names. Don’t be fooled however, this is not some ill-conceived attempt to relive the good old bad old ’70s of soft rock and freeway friendly music. Consciously, or by chance, their main sonic trigger points bring to mind more contemporary artists like Maxwell, the ridiculously underestimated Spacek, and Prince – dark, richly produced mood music, songs with minimalist instrumentation and a kind of sparse, internal awkwardness that makes the word ‘progressive’ seem somehow appropriate. After a series of noteworthy short-form releases, their debut album, No World, is likely to have a huge global impact and bring blue-eyed soul well and truly into the 21st century.