July 19, 2007

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Marc Broussard, SOS: Save Our Soul
Vanguard Records, 2007

You’ll vaguely recall a Willie Wonka joke in this space relating to Matt Wertz’ new Nettwerk-released LP and how he was an alumnus of Christian bubble-pop band Y. Another rat who abandoned the Y ship was Marc Broussard, who, with the help of his Louisiana Music Hall of Famer dad, went on to do a record that people didn’t like much, nothing personal. His more intriguing second album, named after his Carencro, La., hometown, yielded the damn-cool bayou-mud-sloshing single “Home,” which Kelly Clarkson took to mangling nearly every night on the Addicted tour. At that time Broussard dreamed of becoming a gator-nibbled version of Prince, but now that he’s reached the age of 25, sucking down moonshine is as unappealing as being Prince, so this go-round he’s let fly with some Al Green-like ’70s soul, hauled the dusty remains of Pointer Sisters’ “Yes We Can Can” out of its Boston Bruins-TV-ad coffin and otherwise imbibed in somesuches that couldn’t be more Vanguard Records if it were a Christopher Cross best-of. Our hero’s more than up to snuff for this, having allowed his peach fuzz to mutate into jam-dude scruff and had his Muddy Waters messiness surgically removed for radio; he still sounds like a 60-year-old but one who’s accepted the hassles of his Medicare plan, someone who believes the sum of all music is a stack of old Donny Hathaway vinyl. He’s obviously happy to be free of the Island Records goons who bossed him around, having adapted quickly to the Vanguard experience and the label’s Vaseline-lens engineering techniques, which could wring quaintness out of a Jello Biafra spoken-word hate-a-thon. B-Eric W. Saeger