Bing Ji Ling

Shadow to Shine

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N.Y.C.-based singer/songwriter Quinn Luke's 2011 studio album under the moniker Bing Ji Ling, Shadow to Shine features more of the yacht rock-inclined vocalist's knack for '60 and '70s-inspired pop and soul. Bringing to mind a bevy of "Me Era" soft-focus funk and pop acts from the Free Design and the Starland Vocal Band to Andy Kim and the Jackson 5, Bing Ji Ling crafts large-ensemble pop in an organic, analog-sounding way that is sure to put a big smiley smile on any fan of the sunshine pop aesthetic. Vocally, Ling has a sweet tenor croon perfectly suited to the driving and melodic R&B he favors here. It also doesn't hurt that he frames his voice with punchy organ hits, juicy swaths of fuzzed-out guitar, handclap-inducing drumbeats, and even bright orchestral horn and string sections. In that sense, Bing Ji Ling can come off as a kind of loopy, indie rock version of Jamiroquai mixed with the similarly vintage-addicted style of former Tony! Toni! Toné! singer Raphael Saadiq. To these ends, listeners get the bubblegum pop-sounding leadoff track "Move On" and the acid funk-rock anthem "Hold Tight." Similarly engaging is Ling's frothy "Afternoon Delight"-style ode to easy loving "A Little Love," as is his AM radio-ready "Dreaming." Sure, there is a lot of humor and more than enough camp sprinkled throughout Shadow to Shine, but even when Ling's tongue is set firmly in his sun-kissed cheek, as it is on his spacy mid-album address to his listeners, he obviously takes his pop seriously and never drops the musical disco ball.

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