Moving Up Living Down

[Warner Bros.]

On his major-label debut, Eric Hutchinson’s upbeat, effusive melodies are underscored with reggae-ish rhythms, finding a niche that falls somewhere between Billy Joel, Bob Marley and Stevie Wonder. The Washington, D.C., native has taken a winding path to nationwide prominence, having been briefly signed to Madonna’s Maverick imprint before self-releasing 2008’s Sounds Like This. The album became an online hit thanks to gossip blogger Perez Hilton, and eventually got a re-release from his current record-company home, Warner Bros. Hutchinson takes a playful approach here, projecting a sound that’s consistently catchy and effortlessly engaging. The spunk of “Talk Is Cheap,” the Motown beat of “The Basement” and the snappy shuffle that propels “The People I Know” are all just delivery devices for Hutchinson’s pop-perfect gems. –LZ

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