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Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012

Chazz Dixon

Emotional Therapy (Time Boy Music)

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The latest album by Milwaukee R&B man Chazz Dixon is both generous and frustrating. Production by DJ Payday takes the synthetic minimalism of today's urban pop to almost skeletal extremes; the difficulty comes in understanding whether those sounds are intentionally edgy sonic pioneering or something screwier, born of restrictions in budget and creativity. What Dixon and Payday may be on to is a revival of the early-’70s man-and-keyboard school of soul akin to Timmy "Why Can't We Live Together" Thomas, albeit with updated technology and more of an emphasis on lovey-dovey concerns. Though that approach sometimes comes close to aural entropy, Dixon's voice is a saving grace. At his best, he comes on like Smokey Robinson in his swooning tenor prime, though often with a more idiosyncratic way about his romantic intentions. Emotional Therapy is best taken in measured doses.