Review: Durand Jones & The Indications earned lavish praise for their eponymous 2016 debut album, with critics comparing it favourably to conscious soul sets of the 1970s from the likes of Curtis Mayfield and Marvin Gaye. This belated follow up is, if anything, even better, with the group's core offering - tight instrumentation and super-smooth vocals from the hugely talented Jones and drummer Aaron Frazer - being complemented by silky string arrangements, warm brass and lyrics that flit between social commentary and glassy-eyed, loved-up bliss. Highlights include "Morning In America" - a kind of 2019 update to Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" - the super-sweet vocal harmonies of "Don't You Know" and "Long Way Home", a lilting look at homesickness blessed with the twin attractions of swooping strings and a killer bassline.
Review: Hot on the heels of his No Beginning No End album, Jose returns with yet another arresting tale of modern day soul. His distinctive baritone humming with raw emotion he covers a broad soundscape that includes contemporary off-beat fracturisms ("U R The 1"), dreamy psychedelia ("Were Sleeping"), heavy bluesy rock ("Anywhere U Go") and Bonobo-style string drama ("4 Noble Truths"). Far-reaching, arresting and delivered with real authenticity, Jose's repertoire is as spotless and creative as it was when Giles Peterson first signed him 10 years ago.
Review: The new Spacetalk label gets off to a flying start thanks to this compilation by French house shotter, Jeremy Underground. We know him, and you surely know him, though his My Love Is Underground label, an imprint that has produced some of the best deep house in the last five years. He's not in house mode today, though, and instead the DJ shows us his soul roots. Ron Rinaldi's opener "Mexican Summer" is a real peach of a song, then there's some Brazilian disco-funk through Leila Pinheiro's "Tudo Em Cima", and the supremely deep and sensual "Superstar" by NCCU. Other favourites include Maureen Bailey's bittersweet anthem "Takin' My Time With You", and June Evans' "Hardly Need To Say", a tune that we could just leave on repeat. A highly recommended comp!
Review: Fast-rising New York soul singer Carlton Jumel Smith continues his successful partnership with Timmion house band Cold Diamond & Mink via a debut album that sounds like it could have been recorded in the early 1970s rather than 2019. Smith's lyrics and effortlessly soulful vocal delivery take centre stage throughout, though it's the faithfully fuzzy grooves, punchy horn lines and languid, delay-laden guitar motifs provided by his storied backing band that make the album a real winner. Highlights are plentiful throughout, from the loved-up sweetness of "This Is What Love Looks Like!" and Motown-influenced stomp of "We're All We Got", to the slack-tuned drum breaks and bittersweet messages of "I Can't Love You Anymore (feat Pratt)" and the cheery goodness of "Remember Me". In a word: superb.
Making Up & Breaking Up (& Making Up & Breaking Up Over Again)
Get Up & Get Out
Long Time Wrong Time
People Don't Get What They Deserve
Slow Down, Love
Matter Of Time (Soul Of A Woman)
Just Give Me Your Time
Come & Be A Winner
Pass Me By
Searching For A New Day
These Tears (No Longer For You)
When I Saw Your Face
Girl! (You Got To Forgive Him)
Call On God
Review: Before she passed away last year, Sharon Jones spent a couple of months recording what would become her final album with the Dap Kings. Released posthumously, Soul of a Woman is every bit as good as her previous collaborations with Bosco Mann's revivalist soul and funk band. Naturally, Jones death has added extra poignancy to the album's more melancholic moments (see "Just Give Me Your Time" and "Pass Me By" and "When I Saw Your Face"), but these sorrowful outings are contrasted by a string of rousing soul and funk anthems in her confident and effortlessly soulful style. With Mann and the rest of the Dap Kings excelling themselves in a bid to guarantee Jones' legacy, Soul of a Woman may well be Jones single finest album. It's certainly a fitting send off for one of soul's finest voices.