Last year, The A.V. Club reported on Jermaine Crawford—best known for his tragic portrayal of Dukie on HBO’s The Wire—and his then-recent single “Janet.” Now Crawford has released an EP of smooth, sensual R&B jams via streaming service SoundCloud.
From the title of the EP, 4PLAYT3OIS, one might go in expecting some Prince-style genre bending. But instead of the Purple One’s full band and virtuoso guitar, the three-song collection is comprised of what sounds to be samples, including quite a bit of saxophone on “Silhouettes.” It’s enjoyable enough as far as generic modern R&B goes, but there’s not a lot of nuance from tune to tune, and the songs are full of clichés that would make even a Nashville songwriter roll their eyes.
All that being said, Crawford is a very good singer who might benefit from stretching his musical muscles by incorporating a live band, or perhaps even some outside songwriters. The prospects for Happyish aren’t looking very good at this point—maybe Andre Royo is available?