I’m feeling nervous. Don’t wanna mess up this good thing. Beneath the surface, there’s a child that lost his way. Mike Sarason sings with a slight smile on “Simple Insecurities”, the opening track of his debut album Reflections Of Self. Not only is the line heartbreakingly relatable but oddly introspective. All of this in the opening line of the first track? This is the kind of repertoire Sarason has made a name for himself with. But to hear it come from a record under his name is satisfying beyond belief!
Since his early teens, Sarason has been playing music professionally. Be it Combo Lulo, Brooklyn Attractors, The Far East, or The Pinstripes, he has been part of more projects than most artists have their entire careers. Even when Soul Step Records presented me with an advance copy of Reflections Of Self, I wondered how it was his debut record? How could someone so prolific, not recorded his own album already!? Well, whatever the reasoning, Sarason picked a good time because I think a lot of us are feeling a bit introspective.
Combining elements of soul, R&B, folk, with a hint of psychedelic rock, Sarason’s Reflections Of Self, is a hard one to peg in turns of genre.
But no matter what style Sarason dips his feet in, the end result is impeccable. “No Time Left For Wasting” brings the front and center of the mid-60s vibe with a brass section. “Let’s Make Room” flirts with 70s soul. “Conceal & Carry” sounds like if The Zombies were signed to Motown. Each track brings its own set of highs, and for a lack of a better word, reflections.
It’s those reflections that elevate this record from being another project into an important chapter of Sarason’s journey. While most of Sarason’s projects have been pop in nature, it’s the ballads like “Something To Hold On To” that put things into perspective. Sarason isn’t experimenting with genres or thinking outside the box, these songs are directly from his heart. That’s something that can’t be faked or played for gimmicks.
As a joint release from Dala Records and Soul Step Records, Reflections Of Self finds Sarason fitting comfortably within the rosters of both labels.
I know I sound like a broken record (no pun intended) but Reflections Of Self is the kind of album begging to played on vinyl. When I dropped the needle on my copy, I knew it was going to be one of my favorite records of the entire year. If you like soul, psyche, or the introspective, Sarason has got you covered.