Monday, 1 March 2010

Mama's Gun - Routes To Riches - 2010

I was told that i was going to like this album, and this prognosis was certainly not incorrect. It took more than one sitting to fully appreciate the fruits that this group had to bear. This doesn't mean that it isn't - or cannot be - immediate - it's that there is an awesome combination of factors that I needed to soak in and simply appreciate. This is a CD that positively challenged my senses, aroused a keen interest and invoked real excitement. Having raved about a lot of contemporary RnB, especially everywhere outside of the US having the edge and returning to the real meat and two veg of musical matters, along comes an album of such strength and gusto and underlines my opinion with what may as well be a thick, black, marker pen. Even the mainstream media have picked up on this here in the UK...something I find very encouraging. Soulchoonz certainly throws it's support behind this phenomenal outfit, Mama's Gun.

What intrigued me was a real fusing of styles from the contemporary independent music scene through to American Rock music, and more importantly CLASSIC smooth 70s soul music. The lead singer of this group, Andy Platt is SUPERB. He has an extremely soulful voice, and can delicately balance emotion with direction. The consistent use throughout of real instruments such as strings, piano, drums and electric guitars are worthy bedfellows to that voice. The vocals almost play on Stevie Wonder in places, and the styles swing gleefully from sweet 70s Chicago soul to heavier P-Funk Norman Whitfield sounds, and fans of Jamiroquai's classier output are going to really want this album.

I have selected four songs for your attention, all four superb and the most soulful of the lot, although as I say this is by no means berating the rest of the album. My first choice is the beautiful, haunting and string-laden "You Are The Music". I can restart this track dozens of times simply to constantly re-savour the wonderful string arrangement. A sucker for strings, this arrangement openly touches me deeply and within a minute has me drawn in hook, line and sinker. This Stevie Wonder vocalised styled mid 70s groover is simply amazing. A song designed for a beautiful day. Flipping from smooth as a Hutson floater to a Whitfield funker, this song demolishes all opposition. A classic if ever I heard it. "Pots Of Gold" has become a big hit on UK radio. Both contemporary yet with a wonderful 70s soul feel, this track is a real knock-out. Back in 1975 this could have been a monster crossover hit. I can easily imagine having this song as part of my soundtrack to the summer of's that good. New music that evokes old memories?! "Let's Find A Way"...a haunting and memorable opening...leading us into a real 70s midtempo number of note. The vocals are, without question, superb and the melody is out of this world. My last choice is the cheerfully mid '70s Motown-ish "Miracle", complete with tenor vocal approach. Oh...It swells my heart to think that NEW, YOUNG artists are rejecting the mainstream diktats of the brain-dead hip-hop RnB market and are creating something vibrant, fresh and exciting yet so...traditional, reassuring and soulful. Let us pray that the tide keeps turning and that the salvation of soul music in America is near.

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe

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