Singer/songwriter/producer Eric Van Aro can tout eight generations of musicians in his family. His new release Obsession shows that he inherited a melodic ear for adult contemporary music suspended in R&B/soul-based rhythms. Accompanied by pianist Fabio Gianni, the tracks are sparse with piano and vocals carrying the entire album, proving that being spartan can be the best way to go.
Morose and self-reflective, “I’m Not Anyone” opens the album. The tune introduces audiences to Eric Van Aro’s instincts for bluesy soul flourishes as the lacy keys shroud his vocals like a cape and morph into glittering crystals along the bridge. The natural flow of Van Aro’s vocals is aurally appealing as he protracts a bluesy soul incandescence that bleeds and soars with equal amounts of passion in “Since I Fell for You” while the keys pound robustly and cushion tenderly in conjunction with his vocals.
The soul-mesh of the keys lighting “Rain” rafts eloquent phrases that wrap Van Aro’s vocals in satiny shades of blues while the sleek knolls of the keys in “Ordinary Fool” have a nightclub shading with a bounce that injects activity and mobility into the track. Van Aro’s rendition of the classic pop tune “With You I’m Born Again,” featuring Sheri Pedigo on harmony vocals whose silky voicing is a perfect complement to his throaty timbres, breathes new life into this romantic tune. Van Aro’s treatment of the number revamps its harmonic forms to acclimate to modern pop’s standards.
The Latin shimmies contouring the title track introduce audiences to the upbeat side of Van Aro as his vocals are stimulated by the jangling beats emblazoning a frolicking atmosphere. He isn’t entirely morose after all, which is underscored in the palette of funky/R&B pumps propping “Dancing to the Rhythm” as the cool swagger of Van Aro’s vocals exudes a playful attitude.
Van Aro straddles the line between modern R&B/soul and adult contemporary as evinced in Obsession. Extolling a combination of classic pop, jazz, soul, blues, and R&B influences, Van Aro’s music is a fusion of multiple genres that complement one another. When they’re molded in his hands, the music becomes aurally pleasing and morphs into a signature sound that is identifiable with Van Aro.
Eric Van Aro – vocals, Fabio Gianni – piano, Sheri Pedigo – harmony vocals
I’m Not Anyone, Since I Fell for You, Rain, Ordinary Fool, With You I’m Born Again, Obsession, Dancing to the Rhythm