August 25, 2011 General News

DME Let It Rock Review of Mctrax Artist TOBI

Rocking with FREE at 15, Andy Fraser knows the meaning of term "wunderkind" too well, so to him a 16-years-old fellow Englishmen Tobi might be a lightweight latecomer, but his is a talent that's hard to ignore and not make the first outside artist on the "All Right Now" riff author's label's roster. By the way, Fraser's first post-FREE band was called TOBY, but don't expect any heaviness here, for Tobi and Andy, intertwining their guitar and bass and sometimes voices, bake soft soul cakes, with "Nothing Gonna Stop Us", sweet and slightly gritty, a direct link to Marvin and Smokie.

The class oozes out from beginning to end, from the deep, underwater bubbling of "Here We Go", where the youngster's voice keeps surface tension tight for the better reflection, to the closing tremulous ballad "All Along" that flows across the 7-minute mark to demonstrate his thoughtful playing and leave a delicious aftertaste. Mostly too clever, perhaps, for a chart action, the album holds such groovy cuts as "The Real Thing" or the bluesy "Halfway There", oiled with harmonica, in its midst, while gentle funk of "It's Not Easy" can jolt the MAROON 5 camp. It's that strong if a bit naive which, given the artist's age, is forgivable, and the promise of greatness is indisputable.