As fresh and as clean as the Modernist Style it hails from, PM Warson’s raw-cut 45 ‘Every Day (Every Night)’ sheds new light on Vintage R&B. This winter, if you pride yourself on having a fine ear as well as a sharp eye for Mod sound details, be sure that this is one British invasion you’ll be glad to welcome with open arms.
PM Warson, London-based musician and producer, released ‘Every Day (Every Night)’ on Legere Recordings earlier this year. Recorded at Soup Studio, London, Warson’s crisp and filigreed arrangements are accompanied with a lonesome lyricism which speaks directly to the heart of lockdown London life, “Been down so long feels like up to me,” yet broils alive beneath the neon optimism of a modernist’s appreciation for Wurlitzer and organ.
The heat from this record is clear, like most of us, Warson’s working through some things “I been searching every day, I been searching every night” but instead of letting himself be blown away by wintery blues, romantic parliamentary I.O.Us, or shoe-gazing through the rainy days of the furlough scheme, Warson blasts back with his own antidote of baritone and tenor sax, until the street-lit sidewalks we once knew surrender and shakeout their glittery pockets for a much-awaited, doo-wop, starry refrain — “I need a reason… I need a reason…”
Warson’s ear for an arrangement is undeniable. Far from the musky, insipid incense-logic of vintage collectors, this ‘60s-soul-enthusiast is moving away from mere revivalism and appears to be operating on a more intrinsic belief: quality not quantity. There is a feeling for the material of music here, which is unmistakable. Like someone who knows how to dress for the occasion and walk the beat of modern metropolitan streets, Warson is putting the flaneur back into today’s flannel suits. His records come with the marks of keen empiricism, as well as a deep sense of musicology, where every dent, scratch and dingle in his brass section is not ignored or forgotten, but becomes part of the huge hanging history of putting the right chord in the right place.
Tradition is here (Ike Turner, Ray Charles, to name but two) yet it is a tradition that wants to break from the past of Atlantic soul. There is a solid aesthetic at play which goes beyond the record and centres for the listener on the music’s action: a blend of live performance, analogue playing and a bluesy heat.
What PM Warson has is either a feel for good musical accompaniment or a good deal of good company to choose from. His record is something we get from our closest friends at those knowing moments, like the nudge of an elbow, when we are standing on the subterranean edge of our next step into the mainstream. ‘Every Day (Every Night)’ is precisely what you need this coming New Year — a sharp, pointy invitation to get us all dancing, once again, together in time.
With a new album scheduled for Spring 2021, look out for PM Warson’s feature as a backing track on Fred Perry’s ‘Soul Boy’ edit.