Home Read Classic Album Review: Jarvis Church | Shake it Off

Classic Album Review: Jarvis Church | Shake it Off

Nelly Furtado's producer takes a shot at the solo spotlight — with mixed results.

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This came out in 2002 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):

 


One of the beneficial side-effects of producing someone else’s hit record is that you can acquire enough money — and pull — to indulge your own musical fantasies. Case in point: Jarvis Church.

Never heard of him? That’s because he’s really Gerald Eaton, aka one-half of Track and Field, who produced Nelly Furtado’s mega-selling Whoa, Nelly! album. Making the most of his newfound hitmaker status, Eaton aims for the solo spotlight with this collection of blue-eyed soul and smoothly crooned R&B, co-produced with his old Philosopher King cohort Brian (Field) West and featuring guest spots from Big Sugar’s Gordie Johnson, Esthero, rapper Jelleestone and man of the hour Nelly. But even though Eaton/Church certainly comes close to the mark, Shake it Off doesn’t quite nail the bulls-eye. Maybe it’s because Track & Field’s meticulous space-hop production is slightly at odds with the earthiness of true soul music. Maybe it’s that Eaton’s love of pseudonyms undercuts the sincerity of his lover-man lyrics and falsetto vocals. Or perhaps it’s the fact that Winnipeg’s own Remy Shand issued a similar-sounding — but infinitely catchier and more impressive — version of this record just a few months ago. Whatever. You just hope Eaton enjoys the spotlight while it lasts.