Mayer Hawthorne - For All Time

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For All Time opens with a swish lover-man theme flecked with Clavinet, brass, woodwinds, and Jessica Childress' breathy vocal. Over the course of Andrew Cohen's sixth Mayer Hawthorne album, multiple variations on that intro bubble up as brief interludes, conceivably serving a second purpose for Hawthorne shows -- breaks for Cohen to switch outfits or maybe wheel out a mobile wine cellar. Although the peacocking could come off as histrionic, it befits an album exhibiting easy confidence and fully satisfied romantic indulgence. It also helps that Cohen, despite having leveled up with outside writing and production for Doja Cat, Jordan Ward, and Chika, still doesn't present Hawthorne as too-serious a character. Typifying the man's innate aptitude for applying a little self-deprecation to his debonair persona, "The Pool," a spangled psych-soul fantasy, carries a cautionary line about the dangers of being fair-skinned in blistering sunlight. Other than that escapist highlight, For All Time glows with real-life conviction offered with subtle winks that somehow don't make a listener doubt Cohen's sincerity. The wedding playlist-bound title song from a lyrical standpoint is simple love balladry, but it's elevated by a nuanced lead from Cohen that communicates delight, relief, and gratitude. Brighter and even more effective are the relaxed disco throwback "On the Floor" (quoting and name-checking Shalamar over a melodic Blu DeTiger bassline), the churning ballad "Deeper Vibration," and the future lowrider oldie "Tell Me," along with the funkier slink of the Jesse Boykins III collaboration "Physical Touch" ("Send me that pin, I'm on the way/Get the job done like Big Daddy Kane"). Overall, there's more sonic likeness to the first Hawthorne LP, A Strange Arrangement, than there is to any of the relatively polished and varied four that followed it. Cohen as usual is the primary musician, playing an average of six instruments per song -- the basics to glockenspiel and Mellotron -- and produces with some help from Rodaidh McDonald, Imad Royal, and Michael Brun. A fleet bonus cover of the Edge of Daybreak's 1979 dancefloor soul obscurity "Eyes of Love" is an inspired finishing touch, not something Cohen could have pulled off with as much vocal and multi-instrumentalist skill back in 2009. Take that to the bank.

1 Hawthorne Rides Again
2 Without You
3 Physical Touch
4 For All Time
5 Cream Interior
6 The Pool
7 Deeper Vibration
8 Tell Me
9 Sweet Temptation Woman
10 Deuce and a Quarter
11 On the Floor
12 Standby
13 Eyes of Love