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Soul Express CD Review


US Next Thing, 2003
Intro: Walking Into The Sun - Remember The Love (Samba Soul Mix) - Cold As Ice - In Search Of - What It Is - Something - I Had A Dream - Midnight In Bahia - 7 Days - Morning Light - I Hear Music - Rollin' On - Former Self

Adriana Evans is a beautiful, beautiful Lady who first came to our critical attention with her excellent debut CD back in 1997.  I for one was bowled over by the sheer vocal talent of the Lady, the quality of production and am still in love with many of the beautiful songs on it.  Following this we heard nothing, and I was left feeling sad that as far as I was aware, here was another quality artist lost in action amongst the burgeoning and increasingly dull, formulaic R&B movement. 
Well, here we are in 2004 and Adriana is back with a new set and a new label.  Thanks to Paul at Next Thing for the kind review copy - I was unable to hear the song samples yet again (please, God, deliver Broadband as soon as possible!  AND a different provider…) and eagerly awaited receiving the new CD.  Jonathan "Dred" Scott, again, produces the album and as we expect Adriana shines in the vocal department.  With a voice such as hers what else can we expect?  However, there is a sting to this CD for me at least.  For me these tracks are very much like a sandwich.  Both bits of bread are rather tasty, but I fear the filling to be not at all to my taste.  "Nomadic" is the title of the CD, and I imagine that Adriana has been on a journey, be it ethereal, corporeal or any other but a journey she has never the less been on and this is profusely and richly woven into this album. 
There are 5 nice tracks that will appeal to "Lowdown" readers, but as I fear that these are not up to the high standard of her must-have debut CD.  On "Nomadic" are elements of rap, gangly guitar pop, reggae and other styles and influences that do little for these ears. This was not all I had personally hoped for, but always remember that I am not stating fact when I write - this is purely my opinion and my opinion only. 
For sake of space I will solely highlight the best of the songs.  "Remember The Love (Samba Soul Mix)" is a joyful stepper which transports us to a gyrating Rio beach.  This happy, happy song is a real joy to listen to and it is nice to hear the lovely Lady's Jean Carne-ish vocals swaying along with the percussion and guitar.  This oozes warmth, crashing waves and hordes of tanned beauties.  Hmm.  I'm almost convincing myself to buy an air ticket now!!!  From the heat of the Samba we are hit with the floating summer vibe "Cold As Ice" which is a great, catchy song which will warm the cockles of those who adore Vivienne McKone's excellent 1992 set.  Think "Sing (the latter version)" and "Beware".
This flows into the nice "In Search Of" which is Des'ree in orientation.  We skip the next six tracks and focus on "I Hear Music" which is more programmed and "Rollin On" which opens in fine acoustic fashion and continues into a summery seventies soul vibe with a twist of 2004.  Not dissimilar to some of the material on Sheree Brown's latest CD.  This set has its merits but although I know that Adriana is trying to get across how wide ranging her musical tastes are I fear that this has resulted in a very confused CD with no clear direction.  To my ears, it does not flow and I fear that in trying to appeal to all tastes this Lady may alienate her traditional fans and bemuse other sets of ears.
A courageous but confused effort.
- Barry Towler

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