Chocolate Genius Inc - Swansongs - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Chocolate Genius Inc - Swansongs

by Rich Morris Rating:4 Release Date:2010-10-18

Chocolate Genius Inc (Marc Anthony Thompson to his mum) is, according to the PR which accompanies this release, "a free spirit which refuses to be pigeonholed as either rock, soul, folk or jazz". Perhaps that's because he mostly fails to touch any of these genres, instead inhabiting the kind of over-emotive but tastefully inoffensive singer-songwriter mould which will be familiar to anyone who's spent time suffering the navel-gazing mewing of David Gray or James Blunt.

Occasionally, as on the slow and smoky 'Ready Now' or the hushed piano ballad 'Like a Nurse', he slips into a more genuine and accomplished groove similar to 70s John Martyn or Jeff Buckley, and if you're looking for something to chill out and unwind to, then these songs will do the job nicely. To reach these tracks, however, one has to wade through the syrupy, self-satisfied likes of 'She Smiles', which sounds like something Ronan Keating might inflict on the world, and the cod-funk, dinner jazz bilge of 'Enough for You'.

Unfortunately, despite some interesting and absorbing moments (most notably the potty-mouthed mumbling and downbeat hip hop of 'Lump' and the ambient synths and snatched conversation of 'Mr Wonderful'), Swansongs is mostly just too smooth, too conventional and too bloody bland for its own good. This is apparently the last album Thompson will release under the Chocolate Genius Inc moniker. Let's hope he moves onto pastures more interesting.

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