Thursday, 12 February 2009

Helen Rogers - Eyes Like Midnight EP

Now, this name is a blast from the past! Helen is known for her versatility and depth of musical ability. Her work with Paul Hardcastle on his Jazzmasters projects are simply excellent, and UK readers will recall her hit “Anything” with the group Direct Frive from way back in 1984! This EP is a showcase of Helen's first solo work, unbelievably, and is a real treat. It augers well for the full album. The EP is a tight-knit, intimate affair consisting of Helen on lead vocals, guitarist, cellist and viola hand, Tony Qunta, Charles Nelson on keys and renowned Brazilian percussionist Ulisses Bezerra and bassist Derek Baxter. Four tracks can be found on this EP. The opening song is a real surprise. It did not strike me at all on first play, but I was drawn to play it again. It was then that it hit me full on. This is a powerful song, yet very basic and subtle. I can imagine Terry Wogan loving this song to bits. This is simply spellbinding and the sheer sensitivity of the lyrics, Helen's wistful delivery and Tony's mournful cello adds a stark, haunting atmosphere. I can assure you that this song will very soon win a place in your heart. A breathtaking record, no more no less.This is hotfooted by the Latin “The First Time”, a gently swaying Brazilian mover with plenty of Spanish Guitar and percussion. This is the epitome of cool! I think the track that will captivate most readers will be the superb “My Eternal Love” which is a no-nonsense soul stepper complete with funky guitar licks. The vocals are almost pitched for a Brazilian tune, and the scratchy, funky guitar works wonders. There is also a Club mix of this song with extra percussion and a programmed beat, but its worth is added to greatly with some cool keyboard moments. The vocals sit back a little, and allow the beat to take greater control. Job done! On the basis of these four tracks, I am very eager to now hear the full album.

Barry Towler

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