Durand Jones Credit: Courtesy the artist

It wasn’t too long ago that the core members of midwestern revivalist act Durand Jones & the Indications met at Indiana University through gigs with the IU Soul Revue, the college’s tip-top throwback ensemble that performs black popular music from the 1960s. As the story often goes, front man Jones grew up in a church choir, belting out gospel in rural Louisiana. His music-school-educated bandmates were professional appreciators of southern soul, the subgenre most often associated with Memphis giants like Stax and Hi. Despite these different backgrounds, the group’s songwriting effortlessly coalesces on its 2016 self-titled debut, out via Colemine Records, which manages to avoid being too encyclopedic and cliche. Instead, the charming DIY effort demonstrates stylistic knowledge of soul instrumentation even as Jones’s voice is left plenty of room to roam. His singing is a rare combination of purity and power—unlike his Daptone forefathers, Jones hasn’t endured decades of smoky bars and tough breaks. Though sonic comparisons to Charles Bradley and Lee Fields are unavoidable, Jones’s youth and DIY ambition make him stand out against the overarching narrative of rediscovery that has become all too familiar. These aren’t middle-aged session guys in fedoras propping up an aged belter long since fossilized on a dusty 45. It’s a band that writes compelling original material and turns out ultrafun, dance-filled performances at the club. If, like many folks, you’re missing the panache and energy of the late Sharon Jones, this Jones will definitely fill the void.   v