Monday, 9 February 2009

Soul:ID - Sex, Love And Philosophy

Quite an impressive album this, and rather a surprising one. For some reason I expected it to be a more commercial urban-R&B effort, and yet it's surprisingly and refreshingly soulful and rather mellow! This Belgium outfit really are to be commended for this set. The group Soul:ID comprise 4 fresh young talents from Belgium called V, Tchai, Dad'd and Urban Deep. I have to admit that going on appearances I would possibly have overlooked the set – which would have been a real shame. Never judge a cup of tea from the teapot, not the teapot by the tea-cosy for that matter! I am completely sold on a number of songs, which had I have kept a sceptical ear, would have remained a secret from me. The quirky funk of “Believe” takes centre stage for me. Not dissimilar from the recent Heidi album, dreaminess is encapsulated in the keys and you feel ensconced in the feeling of an oh-so-warm world when listening to this song. It’s a teasing groove. The quirky keys, weird noises and slamming beats do not detract from this cushion of sound one iota. Absolutely blinding, that's what I say!

“Even Though” could easily step out of a Somethin' For The People album – but much better. It has a serious Kenny Lattimore feeling to it, and this should be a track you will especially love. The backing vocals are extremely harmonious. Soul:ID also warms me further to the growing quality soul movement. Gone are the days of dodgy brass-outfits and cheesy synth, or endless Incognito clones. The funky, brassy “Leaving You” deserves radio exposure as does the dreamy, rhodes-laced head nodder “Beauty And Sin”. The group work extremely well together and each stands out from the crowd. Female vocalist Tchai is very sexy indeed on the mic, and the funky jazzy groove “Oh, Oh, Oh” is perfect for this sort of vocal interchange and interplay. I am reminded of the classier material of today's R&B stars such as Jon B with cuts such as “Tender”. The feel is totally contemporary yet on the better side of the street, as it were!

“Whatcha Looking For” will appeal to younger ears, but the construction of the beats and the melody, nicely abridged with scratchy guitar belies the apparent youthfulness of the group. The final song is too short for my liking. The feel is heavy on the beats, yet refreshingly 80s underneath it. I hear the style of Chico DeBarge here, and the neo-soul style of Kedar Massenburg in the mix. This should serve as a strong entrĂ©e from Soul:ID. Mellower than expected, and certainly a worthwhile inclusion for those who are a bit more expansive in their listening tastes. Not to be overlooked.

Barry Towler

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