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Soul Express Album Review


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TUOMO
My Thing
Finnish Jupiter, 2007
1) My Wish 2) My Thing 3) Since Or Before 4) True Friend 5) Don't Take It Too Hard 6) 26 7) Puddle Of Love 8) Sorry When I'm Gone 9) Ballroom Girl 10) So Surreal 11) It's You 12) What I'm Like 13) I Won't Worry

This is a superb, superb CD. Definitely rating as one of my top picks of the year, it is abundantly clear that with Tuomo, Janita, Mr. Shy, Seven, Remy Shand and many others it is no longer the province or Urban Black America to be the source of that is soulful, good and wholesome. There is more rare soul and passion in this effort from Helsinki than the majority of anything coming out stateside – especially from the quickly sinking major labels.

I can picture Tuomo with his musicians – yes, folks, real instruments again – huddled in a room that an estate agent would class as cosy. The blinds are drawn, it is dark and it is snowing. Hard. A very similar scene greeted us with the Elizabeth Shepherd Project CD, and this was literally how and when the CD was recorded! The music is lush, fully orchestrated, tighter than a mosquito's tweeter in one place, and beautifully chilled and summery in other places. If you love the rich, soulful sounds of the early 1970s then this CD is a real must for you. I hear shades of The Wild Magnolias or Cheyanne's Comin' in places, and Leroy Hutson in others, and yet Tuomo is no copycat artist. Tuomo is, for my money, unique, and he has the same brilliance of mind as Remy Shand does.

The lyrics are intelligent, and what is warming is the fact that he knows that his listeners are too. Fans of 50 Cent etc. need not bother. I think the sheer realness of “My Thing” would be too much to handle at any rate. The rattling bongos, the aggressive wah wah guitar, burbling bass and guitar stabs are straight out of the flare-flapping days of the 70s, yet hold true to the best of what the 21st Century holds for us connoisseurs.

Contrast this gem with the beautiful and haunting “True Friend” - an addictive and catchy tune if ever I heard one – and the quirky and left-field autobiographical “Since Or Before” and you sum up the sheer brilliance of this young man. Please also check out the amazing “26” with its funky 70s keys – fans of Maxwell, Steve Harvey, Kem or Donnie will love tracks such as this. Another fave is the deliciously paced “So Surreal”with its excellent Dexter Wansel-styled bridge under 2 minutes into the track. This track, and indeed the majority of this CD is sheer heaven. This is what I call a no risk disc!
- Barry Towler

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