It’s no secret that Graves have garnered a loyal underground following, with bandleader Greg Olin’s winning laissez faire vocals and melodic sensibility, Graves have topped a catalog of consistently satisfying releases with Easy Not Easy. His croon is understated, sweet, and earthy, but his sonic palate is decidedly experimental. He has a penchant for off-the-cuff, rickety solos and scrappy R&B grooves that turn the otherwise pretty, laid-back ballads on their ear. A number of songs off Easy Not Easy are downright dirty as Graves ratchet up the sex appeal with Nate Ashley’s bubbling bass lines and Brian Write’s easygoing Motown-styled rhythms. Multi-instrumentalist Cory Gray (Norfolk and Western) adds delicate piano lines and Wurlitzer keyboard arpeggios, when not lending sensual, latin-flavored trumpet solos. Olin meanwhile has not lost his signature stream of consciousness writing style, delivering lines like “Death left a message on my phone, in a rather awkward tone / Rambled on and on and on, still not sure just what about / It got cut off the tape ran out.” More often he’s letting the melody speak for the chorus, his wafting hum speaking more than words could.
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