Thursday, 5 February 2009

Tony Momrelle & LLB - Message In The Music - ATS Records

2007 seems to have woken up! Tony Momrelle is a new name to me, but having heard this album am hopeful that we will hear more from him in the years to come. I am sure to be not the sole writer to make comparisons to Stevie Wonder circa 'Talking Book', and – by default I suppose – Frank McComb. In fact I would venture that if Frank McComb was to your liking, but you prefer more of a jazzier, brassy kick then this is the album for you. Vocally Tony reminds me of the aforementioned Frank McComb, but I hear strains of Demetrius Harvey in there, too. I appreciate the use of real instrument, I really do. Nothing beats the sound of a big band in full swing, and if a song is weak then it can be salvaged by first class musicianship. Not all of the album is to my liking, but one in particular jumps out at me and has grabbed my attention. “With Your Luv” is a KILLER and is something we would speak of as a highlight from a Frank McComb album. The horns give the song a classy streak, and the rhodes and percussion are triumphant as is the overall feel of the song. The sun shines out from tracks such as this. This is one of my tracks of the moment' for sure. “Treats Me Good” works wonders on a similar level, and the slap bass is always a winner with me. Artists like Tony show how much better music is when it is kept real. No need for rap, samples or drowning basslines. There are two worthwhile covers on here, though “You Are The Sunshine Of My Life” is very, very good but amuses me slightly as the gentle Latin rhythm would go down a storm with the lounge circuit! LOL. The track rallies very quickly into a sublime slab of late 70s fusion that is certainly NOT the stuff of the local wine bar! Marvin's “What's Going On” is sensitively reworked too into a fresh, jazzy, Latin excursion bursting with soulful inflection. Great vocals on this, Tony. I am certain that this album was recorded live in one take – it really has that fantastic, hushed, intimate feel and if only more albums were made this way, then the happier I would be.

Barry Towler