Durand Jones and the Directions keep getting better.
The R&B group recently released their third album, “Private Space”, Which takes its gritty soul sound and sand the edges until it becomes something more akin to the late ’70s disco sound Curtis Mayfield.
“One of the biggest things I’ve learned is production and what it takes to produce something high quality and really enjoyable,” singer Durand Jones said.
The group, formed while several members were in college at Indiana University (Bloomington, Indiana), will perform on September 5 at Spirit in the Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh.
Drummer Aaron Frazer said the title of the new album reflected its sound as well as the feeling that the band members had been locked into their own “private space” during the covid-19 pandemic.
“This lead song was written before the pandemic, but after the year we had it became clear that it kind of encompassed everything that was on the record,” Frazer said. “There are those feelings of claustrophobia, but also, the song itself is very sultry, intimate and ready for the dance floor. It captures the duality that is recorded and the duality of what many of us have been through over the past year.
Guitarist Blake Rhein has said that tracks like “Reach Out” and “Ride or Die” are some of his favorites on the new record.
“We wrote them almost entirely in the studio,” he said. “We thought, ‘Let’s make a song like this,’ and we just fleshed it out. It’s cool to work like that and see people react to those songs.
For Frazer, the lifting key change in “More Than Ever” is one of his favorite moments on “Private Space”.
“We never wrote a song with a key change,” Frazer said. “It’s such a triumphant vocal moment. I like to hear Durand open up. After the first record we kind of found ourselves in a subgenre that includes a lot of mellow vocals. But I know he loves to let it rip, so hearing him do his thing right then – as a listener I’m just like, “Yeah, get it! “
Echoes of the thrilling feel of Curtis Mayfield’s “Superfly” era work can be heard in the title track, and the shouted chorus and background conversation on the lead single, “Witch“Recalls Marvin Gayte’s similar sound styles on soul classics like” Got to Give It Up “and” What’s Going On “.
“We were just trying to create that party vibe and sound, and it was really cool to do,” Jones said.
Durand Jones and directions will be at Spirit on September 5th with opener Danielle Ponder. Tickets cost $ 25 and are available on Ticketmaster.com.