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The first thing that strikes you about this six-track debut EP from Toronto-based singer-musician Robert Ball is how the production sparkles. The vibe here is contemporary R&B and jazz; lyrically, the content is purposeful and down-to-earth.

As a vocalist, Ball has got the goods. His smooth, controlled timbre exudes poise, suggesting a sure hand for the proceedings. Midtempo song "You" hangs together with an acoustic jazz flair that sets the tone for the Gospel-esque groove of "Need" and the mainstream-minded "Breathe," while "Wish I Had" maintains a soulful swagger, even if it isn't quite as memorable as it should be. As an EP, Need is short but sweet, with a lot to like. (Independent)


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