Thursday, 12 February 2009

Hil St Soul - Black Rose

“Black Rose” is yet another strong set from this UK Lady. Consistency is this Lady's middle name, and I think you will love this as much as anything she has hitherto produced! Us usual, the music is sharp and in real focus, the beats are crisp, clean and fresh and the whole set benefits from an ever present acoustic flavour. The set itself cannot really be faulted, but some tracks do stick their head above the parapet more than others, and my first choice is the gorgeously melancholic “Sweetest Days” which muses, rose-tintedly perhaps, of a simpler more care-free past. I know that personally I would love to turn the clock back and this song has to make no apologies for stopping us and making us think back. Songs like this remind me that it is not life passing us by, but is instead us that passes life by. I also love the excellent “Life”with its acoustic, tapping melody and awash with texture. There's a warm, comfy '70s feel with the keyboards too, and so this cannot fail for me. Moving on to “Gravity”, the darting strings and hippity-hoppity beats are spiced with a 70s-styled swirling string and harp flourish. Quality lyrics too! “We Were In Love”has a lot going for it! The bassline is very much in the Mizell Brothers vein and the melody harks back to 70s Stevie Wonder. This is a lovely, warm, summery record of the highest calibre. I draw your attention next to the gorgeous “Broken Again”. The beat is sexy and sultry. The deep and resonating bassline is effective and the song deals with hurt, pain and betrayal. Adversity is something that is dealt with with excellently in this song. The title song, “Black Rose” contains some synth that gives me chills! The beats may be very 2008 but the synth is very Mizell / Roy Ayers again. My final pick is the sassy, jazzy yet bittersweet “Hanging On” with freaky keys and eerie synth. As I said, you will not be disappointed with “Black Rose”. The Lady can do little wrong for me, and she's ever-popular here in the UK for her work – rightly so too – and this CD will not do anything but add lustre to her musical career. Excellent work!

Barry Towler

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