Monday, 23 February 2009

Brahim - Evolution

This guy may well be a new name to many but the fact is that “Evolution” is his third CD. Amazing as that is, it is more of a surprise to discover that Brahim is but 24 years old! You would actually be very, very surprised, then, to listen to the CD and discover it brimming with feel-good uptempo boogie soul and funk tunes. This is no lightweight effort either. Citing his guiding lights as a certain Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder, we should expect good things. The guy obviously has taste. This young Soul Man from Torhout, Belgium, easily wins a place in my musical affections. I seriously love surprises like this. Brahim brings a fresh, youthful approach to a classic sound and not unlike the legions of others at the moment – Cool Million, Jazzanova, Liquid Spirits, Bennson etc – is bringing soul back home like some musical prodigal son. I for one celebrate this and hope that the young man will continue his evolution on the same soulful path. I can heartily recommend the whole album, and it's tunes and melodies do nought but raise your spirits and put a smile on your face. Who could ask for more?
The CD starts in a rousing fashion. The groove of “So Into You” is in the late 70s style and possesses great crossover potential – think Lemar and you're not far off the mark. This is good old fashioned party soul and has the ability to draw in those who would normally not bother with our wonderful music. Love it! “What I Like About You” with it's scratchy rhythm and harmonies reminds me of Jeffrey V. Smith and Peter Lord's work with Daryl Hall. Brilliant, catchy and hook-driven. A firm fave of mine is the stepper groove “Evolution”, a cut that would easily fill a slot on the next Soul Togetherness compilation. If you love the resurgent interest in a late 60s sound, then “Sweet Charity Case” cannot fail to win. This is a superb slice of retro soul and is so in tune with what Jazzanova or Raphael Saadiq have just laid down. The unashamed boogie of “Dance All Night” should get the flares out of the cupboard and flapping around the dancefloor! Funkier than this is the superb brassy “Do Like You” - vocally Brahim seems a bit out of place but all soon falls into place and wins the day. “Won't You Stay” is another recommendation, chunkier and funkier and a lot more rigorous. My final choice, “Thank You”, returns to a boogie tunes vibe, and by now you've enjoyed a great and very enjoyable CD, recorded by someone who is but 24. If that's not promising then nothing is!

Barry Towler