VIKTER DUPLAIX International Affairs (Universal) Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
As the real heart and soul of the recent Philly sound revival, you'd expect producer Vikter Duplaix's first full-length on the other side of the mixing desk to be a rootsy affair. International Affairs has the predictable neo-soul crooning and smoothed-out R&B beats, but it's Duplaix's more adventurous tracks that are most successful. His best work has been as a remixer and guest vocalist on cuts by Jazzanova and others, and he's at his best here when he drops the leather-trouser-clad bump and grind charade and gets back to that decidedly underground vibe. Excursions into Osunlade-inspired Afro-house and electro-soul come closest to the promise of the disc's globetrotting, percussion-driven intro. Half-baked attempts at power ballads and R&B schlock do not.