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Mayer Hawthorne – 'Where Does This Door Go' album review

The Michigan crooner's third album explores enough avenues that there's something for everyone

Mayer Hawthorne began his music career as hip hop DJ Haircut, who made ’60s throwback tracks to avoid paying for samples. Once you know this, ‘Where Does This Door Go?’ starts to make more sense.

This third album by the 34-year-old crooner from Michigan incorporates the sounds of Stax Records’ back catalogue (a shift in influence from the Motown sound of his two previous LPs) into the contemporary rhythm and blues of Bruno Mars, along with Elvis Costello-styled new wave and Jurassic 5-esque scratching.

There’s a cameo by acclaimed rapper Kendrick Lamar on the slow-dance hit ‘Crime’, which helps keep things contemporary, as do the funky thwack-a-thwacks of guitar on ‘Wine Glass Woman’ – sounds that smack of Pharrell, who helped co-produce the record, and also sings on penultimate song ‘The Stars Are Ours’. The title track works a sweet-tempered furrow with a flurry of strings and sincere vocal tones. The truth is, there’s such a variety of grooves coming from different avenues that it’s easy to find something to like about this album. Love, even. All you have to do is explore. What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments box below or tweet us at @TimeOutMusic.

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