LA's 35-year-old singer/songwriter nearly jacked in the solo stuff last year, so Return In Kind, though a covers record, is something of a reaffirmation. Where Casal has sometimes been victim of a too-perfect voice, here (as in recent work with side project Hazy Malaze) he adds grit to the mix.

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Neal Casal – Return In Kind

LA’s 35-year-old singer/songwriter nearly jacked in the solo stuff last year, so Return In Kind, though a covers record, is something of a reaffirmation. Where Casal has sometimes been victim of a too-perfect voice, here (as in recent work with side project Hazy Malaze) he adds grit to the mix. Aided by Eric Heywood (steel) and “Farmer” Dave Scher (strings/keyboards), he completely inhabits the songs, be it poking around inside Gene Clark’s “With Tomorrow”, teasing out the hopeless ache of Johnny Thunders’ “It’s Not Enough” or tripping on Michael Hurley’s “Portland Water”. White soul music par excellence.