Monday, 23 February 2009

Femi - Sweet Water Soul

And still the quality keeps on coming! Talking House records from San Francisco release this 6-track EP by Femi, and the whole package is very sophisticated, well packaged and major label quality. The booklet and artwork – the packaging – is very smart and top notch. The photography here is professional and the location on the back cover is stunning. Musically, too, no expense has been spared. The musical backing is real, rich and warm. Just take a sip of track one, “Sweet Water” and hear the sexy, infectious percussion and rasping flute and already we're under no illusion of quality. This is the sort of material that Erykah Badu could do if she was so inclined. Vocally sparse, this segues into the fully-blown vocal cut, “Imported”. More percussion, guitar and flute await us here as well as some very smooth backing harmonies.
A cut that should get a few heads nodding is “Crush”. With a funky bassline and juicy percussion Femi delivers a groove almost in line with what we could expect, say, from a new Sade album – though Femi has a far better vocal range. I really like Femi's vocals and the quicker we receive a full and proper album release the better. Skipping the Reggae tune, “If I Know”, we hit a jazzier note with the brilliant “I Want You”. The fender rhodes keyboards and bass guitar sound absolutely delicious and make this the cream track on the EP. What a great cut this is, and makes a mockery of 99% of what the big labels are releasing. The final track is called “Pages”. Not a cover of the 1999 George Benson gem, but a summery floater that will simply take you to a warmer and more relaxing plane. Not unlike all the compositions on this EP, the lyrics are of a high standard and very much aimed at the intelligent listener. What a lovely introduction to a very lovely Lady.

Barry Towler