Thursday, 19 February 2009
“Baby it's time” croons Adrian “for a little romance”. You're not wrong there, Adrian, and your CD should definitely propagate a few romances and get a few bed sheets ruffled! Adrian contains a lot of 'old school' or, better put, traditional, sentiments but employs them the best way for today's ephemeral marketplace and today's confused, mixed-up Hip Hop cum R&B market. Now don't get me wrong...Adrian is NOT trying to be the next big R&B star – god forbid! Instead he is very much his own man. Adrian's vocals are a smooth blend of Mikki Bleu, David Ruffin Jr and Omar Cunningham so this should make you sit up and take a bit of notice! This album says to me that he knows where the music has been, and he definitely knows where it's at. Take, for example the blissful opening song, “Time For Romance” which is based very much with Ronn Matlock's “I Can't Forget About You” melody but fully in sync with today's rhythms. This is excellent stuff, and I hear a few subtle nods to classic soul later in the album, too. The 80s influenced stepping groove of the aptly-titled “Stepping Out” complete with bongos and strings is excellent. The expansive synth and loose rhythm works well and is easily a highlight. “Rendezvous” is a strong modern soul jam with more than a nod towards the 90s slow jam purveyors but the opening strings harken back to the great Barry White / Love Unlimited Orchestra and even Stevie Wonder. “Don't Wanna Be” is a very strong bass-heavy track which is 90s influenced – some nice guitar a la Randy Bowland style, and the song is rather akin in its very essence to Jeffrey Osborne's “Soft And Slow” with a firm Ernie Isley influence. An Isleys influence, vocally, can be found on the excellent “Who's That Lady”. NOT, I hasten to add the same classic hit though! The essence of D'Angelo soon takes over and carries over into “Black Paradise”, a positive ode to women complete with laid back jazzy vibe, synth and warm keys. Also check out “I Gotcha Back” which features some spacey keys and conversational aspect reminiscent of Curtis Mayfield's “No-One Knows About A Good Thing”. This is SUPERB. If you loved Omar Cunningham's latest CD then “Never Meant To Hurt You” should satisfy. The best, for me, comes with track 10, “Heaven”. Easily my track of the moment, this song knocked me away...so subtle, simple, and as summery as you like with some beautifully paced guitar. The best track on here without doubt and one of my faves of 2008. For my money, worth the price of the CD alone if only for that track! Recommended for sure.