Thursday, 19 February 2009

Paul Mac Innes & T.B.O.I.

2008 may be drawing to a close but the quality soul shows no sign of abating. I have recently raved about the excellent Paul Mac Innes who guested on the brilliant “I Need Music” on Bennson's CD (also reviewed here on Soulchoonz.) Devotes of the duo will know that this album – minus the three bonus cuts – was released on P-Vine in Japan last year, so it is great to see the album get a wider issue. If you are not familiar with this wonderful duo then let me start by saying that they make the most awesome, moreish and soulful music, and all out of their home base of Gothenburg in Sweden! The set contains nods in a lot of black music directions, be in Jazz, soul or Hip Hop, and I thoroughly understand those who compare them to Steely Dan although there is definitely more soul within their make-up as you will hear. Odd though the first track may sound, “Welcome To The Bunker” contains everything that the quality soul music devotee would and should want. The slap bass, early 80s groove and soulful harmonies are to die for. It gets better though! Check the delightful and intoxicating laid back vibe of “Even Though” with it's strong piano and vibes. I can imagine the likes of Blaze recording this for their “25 Years Later” set, it really is that good!

A song I am really sold on is the brooding, simple but devastating “Time”. This melody, led again by the pensive piano, is straight out of the Joslyn or Brown Baby Girl bag (also available through Soulchoonz!) and is real, true deeply rooted REAL Soul Music. All out of Sweden! Fantastic, and even more reason to visit! The jazzy “What You Do” has a real Hip Hop influence and I can even imagine the likes of George Duke nodding and smiling in approval. Vocally, George would hear echoes of his own style, pitch and phrasing, maybe with a pinch of Regis Branson thrown in for good measure! Excellence abounds with the atmospheric and very 70s “Run Away”; it's fluid beats, organ and slap bass personally hits me where I need it to. It's a song I have played to death. You'll soon understand the Steely Dan comparison with “You Know What To Do” - Think their superb “Aja” album and you're not far wrong. If you love the warm 'recorded live in one hit' feel a la Elizabeth Sheppard then “Let's Dance” will quench your musical tastebuds, and for afters enjoy the VERY Steely Dan-like “You Make My Sunshine” which also owes a lot to the style of Big Brooklyn Red – think “Paradise” and there you have it! The 3 extras, including the aforementioned cut, add extra value – especially the horn mix of “Welcome to The Bunker” which is excellent. Lovers of quality music should be without doubt: this is the real deal and will be enjoyed now and in many years to come.

Barry Towler