The lineup: Alby Daniels (vocals, music).
The background: The person tipping us off about Alby Daniels suggested that he was a sort of dubstep D'Angelo, a British R&B wunderkind bringing a Flying Lotus focus to bear on modern soul music. Wouldn't that be great? A UK version of the tormented soul lothario, a Macbook Marvin offering a glitchy, blown-beat take on Let's Get It On, pained by the twin lures of salvation and sex? Brilliant idea. We've never really had a great UK loverman. Maybe it's a problem of marketing, or perception, but we don't tend to sell our own soul boys well. In the States they treat their bare-chested, muscled and intensely self-adoring/self-obsessed urban artists like saviours. Here, they tend to be oleaginous figures of ridicule. Either that or they just don't happen at all. Whither Daley, David Jordan, Leon Jean Marie or any of the other many soul contenders who have been signed and sealed but not quite delivered over the past few years?
This Daniels character, though, augurs well, not so much as a commercial proposition but as a credible alternative to someone like the Weeknd. But the notion that he's some tortured sex-narcissus is a bit far-fetched, the result, perhaps, of wishful thinking, or simply jumping to conclusions on our part. No, he's a skinny white 22-year-old from Brighton or London – we're not quite sure – whose label is home to Fantastic Mr Fox, Hyetal and Blue Daisy. And although the songs on his debut EP, This Dawn, are a "collection of stories about angst-filled days and blurry nights", he doesn't seem to be raising quandaries about sex and spirituality to lavish, fever pitch (hard to tell under all the clicks and cuts). But the way he sings positions him more as a latterday soul boy than an anonymous blubstep type like James Blake. He Goes For It in the vocals, and there is an R&B quality to his performance (he's a fan of jazz and funk, and we'd wager jazz-funk), but the "warmth" of the singing is balanced nicely by the studio sonics, the rhythmic spasms and combination of atmospherics and FX. It works superbly as headphone music, and as a 21st century version of that old radio staple, Quiet Storm. Meantime, we're going to wait for him to bulk up, get his top off and become London's – or Brighton's – answer to Michael Eugene Archer.
The buzz: "In a day where anyone can manipulate a computer to make sweet noises, it's comforting to see a guy committed to making art that is all his own" – Squeegie.
The truth: He's a soul boy – but it remains to be seen whether he can become a bona fide Brit Soul Man.
Most likely to: Feel like making love.
Least likely to: Sing Feel Like Makin' Love.
What to buy: The This Dawn EP was released this week by Black Acre. You can also buy it here.
File next to: D'Angelo, Lewis Taylor, Abel Tesfaye, Marvin Gaye.
Friday's new band: Submerse.
Burgess Powers builds and designs web sites and applications for high availability