- LP - LTD Blue Vinyl
This is sublime. There’s a glowing, sunset melancholy at the heart of every moment on Pleasure, Joy & Happiness that adds up to one of the most aching, honest Soul records we’ve heard in modern times.
Eddie Chacon’s history in music began with his time as a child singing prodigy and takes in numerous false starts before scoring a global worldwide hit with “Would I Lie To You?” as the duo Charles & Eddie, with Charles Pettigrew. The aftermath of this unstoppable success saw the duo flounder, failing to follow up that brilliant pop soul gem. After more let downs, Pettigrew died of cancer aged just 37, in the middle of the duo’s working on new music.
It’s hard not to hear the cracking of the heart in Chacon’s divine falsetto. Like Marvin Gaye or Smokey Robinson, Chacon’s voice is an instant transportation device, taking you away and out of your body. The ear follows it naturally, twirling up and around like the eye would a graceful bird in flight, its timbre oak-aged with the disappointment of a middle aged performer confident in his abilities yet worn down by life’s tragedies. It’s a striking voice, beautifully lived in, relatable yet in its virtuoso-ease, somewhat angelic.
None of this is to say that Pleasure, Joy & Happiness isn’t full of life and any of its eponymous qualities. It’s a quietly divine record and with Solange and Frank Ocean’s producer John Carroll Kirby at the helm its resplendent with pure, electronic soul touches and buckets of gorgeous tremolo Fender Rhodes. This is glorious sunsets over the Pacific Ocean music, chills shivering down the spine with every diminished chord, a beautifully balanced sound that shimmers into the night. Trouble fades in with a snakey, slinky bassline and wavy synth lines before introducing that glorious voice: “Life goes the way it wants” he sings, and you can feel it instantly. On Hurt, it feels like the singer is addressing himself “you never meant to hurt me, you were hurting yourself.”
Reading about the torturous years of trying to follow up his previous success, much of this album feels like a diaristic, stream of consciousness exorcism of Chacon’s own failures rendered by Kirby into an effortless, dreamy, impressionistic modern soul classic. The vintage synthesizer presets on tracks like single My Mind Is Out If Its Mind lend a delicious late 80s, early 90s Neo Soul atmosphere to the album but coupled with the bare delivery of Chacon’s lyrics it lands deeper and more direct than anything mass produced and chart-ready. In fact, Pleasure, Joy & Happiness nails this indefinable sweet spot between syrup-smooth production and the sort of loaded, gloriously soulful vocal that only someone who has gone through some shit can really deliver.
All told, this is one of the records we’ve been most looking forward to since it was released digitally way back in July 2020. We’ve got limited copies of this, while stock lasts.
Pleasure, Joy & Happiness – Eddie Chacon has been added to your bag.