Monday, 9 February 2009

Heidi - The Love Album

I have hitherto not heard of Heidi Spiliopoulos, but thankfully this has been put to rights with her début release, “The Love Album” for the UK's Havavision Records out of the UK. I cannot resist a fine looking lass at any time, let alone one who creates soulful, romantic jams such as these! Heidi is a gentle vocalist, extremely feminine and smooth and she has penned much of the material herself; the music is what we would call organic or neo-soul. The fender rhodes, gentle percussion and horns form the backbone to this retro-sounding project. The feel is of a dreamy mid 70s soul album with hints of heavier beats belying the fact that this is very 21st Century. This is classy UK Soul at its best. The first song that really blows me away is the KILLER “Flow Like A River”. This track is pure genius: the swirling strings, dreamy, carefree keys and sultry synth and laissez-faire percussion all point towards the fact that spring is on its way – and this is one of THOSE songs that I will be blaring out to all and sundry during those warmer, sunnier days. This is pure class and the CD is a must for this and this alone! However, it doesn't stop there. Yes, we get value for money here, folks! Its followed by a gorgeous floater called “If We”. The feel, again, is of a warm summer day – the beats more clonking and clappy a la the latest Brian McKnight set. This should do the business on quality UK radio. For a more Latin edge, the acoustic “No Pain” offers us a sublime piece of stripped-bare essential soul. Who needs the likes of Amy Whine House with artists like this about? It beats me, it really does. The sweet “Family Love” again utilises some nice string affects, and Heidi has an opportunity to show us again how much clarity and strength she has in her voice. Again, this is class. As you know, I love the flute. The jiggyness of “Only Loves Goes On” has all the hallmarks of an Erykah Badu cut, the flute takes on its own life and a weird yet very musical blend is made here. At once slightly discordant, but cleverly interplayed scales and beats all held together by a very free glue courtesy of the backing vocals and real instruments. Interesting, aurally challenging yet very, very good! Heidi is more than a neo-soul artist. Like Erykah Badu (if not better) this Lady can turn to jazz at a glance. The jazzy club smoker “My Eyes” offers Heidi to be viewed from an altogether different perspective. This shows that the musical world really is her Oyster. This Lady can do little wrong. Take the exquisite laid back soul-jazz of “Lost In You”for example. Not many of today's artists can pull off material like this. This takes real talent! Talking of which, the beautiful Finnish talent of Juanita comes to mind with the SUPERB duet with Von Quest, “You Know I'm Ready”. Another classy track that is definitely a winner and deserves all the exposure it can get. The closing cut “The Luurrve Jam” is right in the pocket – even if I hate the title! LOL. There's a considerable silence between the opening of the song and the main chunk of it – so worry ye not – your CD player is NOT faulty! “Thank You Star” is an apt track. I would like to close the review by saying “Thank you, star” for that is what we have here. Heidi is a genuine find and the support she has from the talented musicians and co-writers is extremely sympathetic to her ample talents. Ignore this at your peril. Quality all the way.

Barry Towler

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