Bringing a tried and true funk/disco formula to Private Space, Durand Jones & The Indications prove that groovy basslines and romantic lyrics will never go out of style. Tapping in falsetto Aaron Jones on all but two tracks, Durand Jones & The Indications struck gold with Private Space, a pleasing and playful selection of songs that are highly replayable and palatable for many audiences.
The group shows that it’s foolish to assume a strong organization can’t survive with two leaders, as Durand Jones and Aaron Frazier balance lead singer duties throughout the album. Jones brings the soul, and Frazier brings an innocent romanticism, making for a well-rounded palette.
Expanding past their typical neo-soul and into the realms of funk and disco, the group’s optimistic worldview and harmony is in full effect from the opening seconds of the album, as they sing that “Love Will Work It Out.” With nimble basslines and a bright xylophone, the track serves as a tone-setter for an album that can switch tempo at a moment’s notice without jarring audiences.
The second track, “Witchoo,” gives off the feeling that The Indications would be an absolute wonder to see perform live. Frazier gets his unofficial introduction to the album, taking center stage with a fast pace; “I know you came with your friends but who you leaving with.” He continues, singing; “If the drinks keep flowing I can go all night witchoo,” on top of a bumping, rustling beat with sound effects of a lively party in the background. “Witchoo” is a song that’ll have people dancing for years to come.
After the quick tempo of “Witchoo,” the band settles into their rhythm, opting for swooning love songs over the rest of the album. With “Private Space,” the album’s namesake, Frazier and the band do well to curate an intimate environment, featuring bright strings and a prominent bass guitar section.
“Ride or Die” sees the lead singers take a more breathy approach, giving their lovers the feeling that their passions on the first few songs aren’t just temporary feelings. It’s a divine soundtrack to falling in love.
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The Indications pull off a difficult feat with this album; keeping up their momentum over an extended run-time, the album stands at 40 minutes with no dull moments. While no other song will make your hips shake like “Witchoo,” the group maintains audience interest with tight instrumentation and earwormy grooves.
Invoking the funk and boogie legends of the past, like Earth, Wind, and Fire, The Gap Band, and The Isley Brothers, this album is endlessly entertaining. They might not be as explosively popular as their predecessors, but maybe that adds to their allure — we’re all a part of their Private Space.
Ultimately, Durand Jones & The Indications can serve as a bright light in a dark and trying world, with rising COVID-19 cases and a burning globe. When they sing about how love will make things work out, or about how you should just reach out if you need anything, it feels like things can work out. Use Private Space as a way to re-energize yourself when life seems too challenging.