Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Duff Review: The Far East "New York Is For Lovers"

The members of the band stand or sit in front of a row of brownstones in Brooklyn.Names You Can Trust
6-track vinyl EP/digital

(Review by Steve Shafer)

New York Is For Lovers--the awesome new Lovers rock EP from The Far East--kicks off with a fantastic cover of Evelyn "Champagne" King's 1981 R&B/dance smash hit "I'm in Love" (which was also versioned that year by Jennifer Lara for Studio One), and this track sets the sound and vibe for the rest of the record, with its bright synth keyboard riffs (think of the bubbly, flute-like synth in Van McCoy & the Soul City Symphony's "The Hustle") and late night "Quiet Storm"-like vibe (Channel Tubes' production on this EP is spot-on and impeccable, as always). In case you weren't in New York City in the early-to-mid 1980s, one of the more popular shows on the premier Black commercial radio station WBLS was "The Quiet Storm," which featured sultry, slow-jam R&B tracks, such as the Mary Jane Girls'' "All Night Long" and Sade's "Your Love Is King," and was broadcast late Saturday night for people doing things they'll probably need to ask forgiveness for when in the pews on Sunday morning. Lovers rock, of course, is tailor-made for this type of programming, with songs focused on pining for, being in love with, cheating on, or falling out of love with someone--and the songs on The Far East's New York Is For Lovers check all of these boxes. 

The highlight of the EP is the buoyant and alluring "NYC Dream," which is about the off-the-charts euphoria that can come from simply thinking about walking the streets of the greatest city in the world with the person you love: "You only live once/In the city/There's a dream on Delancey Street that belongs to you/You're holding me close/In the city/The night belongs to us on the avenue." "What's real, now gone" is the heartbreaking realization in "Separation" (which has a great Jackie Mittoo organ break in it). In the sweet "Magic Moments," there's real satisfaction in the memories of good times, even if everything doesn't work out (choice lyric: "You send me love/You send me, lover"). The catchy, bitter-free "Keep You in Mind" is from the point of view of the girl on the side who's just done with it all ("I don't think I check for you anymore..."). And it would be hard to refuse an entreaty to make-up after a fight like "Don't Give Up" ("Baby, I'm not like other girls you knew before/I love you more/Babe, I know you care/I'm not closing out my tab..."). 

New York Is For Lovers is the perfect end of the party record--whenever parties can safely happen again. For now, you can still turn down the lights, turn up the volume, and imagine times to come when we can all be together again, and do normal human things that lead to falling in or out of love.

No comments: