Fernando Saunders

The Spin

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The Spin Review

by Dave Connolly

Think you know Fernando Saunders from his work with edgy artists like Lou Reed and Marianne Faithfull? Think again. His solo career is a very different chapter, one that finds the talented multi-instrumentalist/singer making remarkably smooth R&B/pop. Although comparing his music to an amalgam of Prince and Sting does over-promise, Saunders is the consummate professional and The Spin is a disc ready for the scrutiny of an established solo artist. At 14 tracks, keeping the material fresh is a challenge, but only in one or two spots does The Spin sag. More indicative are winning songs like "Sussana," "You're the Only Woman," "The Spin," "The Fire Keeps Burning," and "Tick-Tock." Although assuming electric guitar duties represents a compromise (he relies too often on distracting effects), Saunders is up the task as a songwriter, singer, bass guitarist, acoustic guitarist, and producer. In fact, The Spin makes a compelling case for Saunders as a producer with plenty of potential (he juggles an array of session players here without a hitch). Any number of these songs could have been commercial contenders, which begs the question: Why hasn't Fernando Saunders clicked as a solo artist? The answer probably has to do with his reputation as a session player. Having supported artists on the fringe of rock for so long, Saunders has not cultivated the kind of audience that would appreciate an album like The Spin. Still, these solo releases do give listeners a chance to recognize how talented Fernando Saunders really is. Sensitive, romantic, intelligent -- The Spin definitely deserves one, especially if you already have some Prince and Michael Jackson records in your collection.

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