Thursday, 5 February 2009

Jahah - The Meltingpot - Mamasonlyson

Here’s one of those annoying modern soul releases that has two distinct lives. In it original US incarnation, Jahah’s ‘Melting Pot’ was an interesting soul/R&B hybrid. It mixed tasty modern soul tunes with big R&B bouncers and nu-soul floaters – why, for good measure, it even had a touch of rap! No problems with the rapping and the R&B, other than in his opening gambit Mr. Jahah extols the virtues of real soul music. He bemoans the fact that there’s not much that’s decent out there now and demands more “Stevie, Donnie, Luther and Marvin" Those pleas on ‘Soul Music’ are wrapped in a real slinky soul groove and it makes a great start for the LP – continued on the busy dancer that is ‘Call Me’. But then things start to change. ‘Reverse’ is a loose-limbed R&B bouncer that could be ‘Crazy In Love, part 2’, while towards the end ‘Move, Shake, Bounce’ is even closer to the lovely Beyonce’s epic. Both sit uneasily with the more serious nu-soul grooves that are ‘I’m Clean’ and ‘You Inspire Me’. It’s as if Jahah doesn’t know what he wants to be and the confusion is compounded with the Asia/Japan release of the album. In this second incarnation, the set has the bonus of a wonderful retro soul dancer – ‘Get On The Floor’. As you can imagine the lyrics aren’t earth-shattering, but that’s not the point. It’s a call to the floor and with hints of ‘Rising To The Top’ it won’t disappoint the modern soul crowd. If you’re going to investigate, it’s the Japanese version you’ll need.

Bill Buckley

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