Durand Jones & the Indications’ new single “The Way That I Do” reaches back several decades to capture the feeling of a precise period in popular music history, the years in the late Seventies and early Eighties when the popular R&B vocal ensembles turned toward the locomotion of disco and boogie in search of new hits.
This is the time that yielded under-appreciated gems like the Chi-Lites “Changing for You” and the Manhattans’ “Let Your Love Come Down.” The harmonies in these records are as immaculate as the grooves are sturdy; that combination, plush yet relentless, means they are still capable of compelling wallflowers to strut towards the dance floor even today.
“The Way That I Do” makes its club-friendly ambitions explicit in a simple video containing a snazzily dressed couple showing off the polished Chicago dance style known as steppin.’ Singer-drummer Aaron Frazer sighs pretty lines about infatuation — “Now I’m a believer/In the power of your touch” — that become increasingly dramatic to the point where he seems on the verge of spontaneous combustion: “I’m fiendin’ like it’s never too much/Can’t keep it steady, breathing heavy, spinning out of control/Your love’s got me sicker than I been before.”
But while Frazer’s agitation mounts with each beat, his delivery remains angelic. And the track beneath him also remains unerringly cool, with echoes of George Benson’s work with Quincy Jones, as soft tendrils of guitar and lavish harmonies help to disguise the pushy beat.
“The Way That I Do” will appear on Private Space, a new album from Durand Jones & the Indications that arrives July 30th.