Expectations were high at the Roxy for this twin bill featuring two of the WORK Group’s most promising young acts, top-billed Swedish singer-songwriter Eagle-Eye Cherry and New York-based soul group Morley. But only one of the pair left a positive impression, and it wasn’t the headliner.
Cherry, the son of jazz ace Don (who died in 1995) and the brother of early-’90s R&B hitmaker Neneh, is riding the top-5 Euro success of his “Desireless” debut disc on this, his first U.S. campaign. Despite all that, the former actor appears to have bitten off far more than he can chew.
An awkward but otherwise eager performer, Cherry showed a Roxy crowd seemingly divided between record industry types and Swedish nationals that he’s a musician with very little to say. Songs like “Falling In Love Again,” “Comatose” and “Shooting Up In Vain” featured silly, cliched lyrics that did scant justice to their often heavy themes.
Cherry’s four bandmates executed their leader’s bland rock songs with ample grace and with as much energy as the low-gear presentation would allow.
Opening the show with far more grace was Morley, a soulful group in the tradition of Marvin Gaye and Sade, fronted by former dancer and model Morley Kamen, whose enchanting manner and hypnotic voice foretell considerable accomplishment — and all this after discovering only three years ago that she could sing.