The Contours

A New Direction

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Kicking out this CD a cappella with the mellow "Prelude (A New Direction)," these revamped Contours bear no similarities (except for two original members) to the energetic, rambunctious lads who first recorded more than 40 years ago. (Has it been that long?) A bass remarkably similar to Melvin Franklin is charismatic on the wandering "Grown Up"; "New Love" has a stalking beat that captivates the moment but doesn't linger. "The Present" is pleasant; the lilting romancer provides a good direction for the Contours to follow the next time in the studio. Strong harmonies highlight a revivalesque rendition of Billie Holiday's "God Bless the Child"; a scintillating version of "Days of Wine and Roses"; and the "Prelude," which is rejuvenated as "The Reprise." However, the contrived "Sex Me Up" never revs above an R. Kelly wannabe.

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