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Soul Express Album Review

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UK Soulchoonz, 2007

If you have a sweet tooth like me, a bit of Confection is always going to be welcome. Soulchoonz has already given us a tasty treat with the exclusive 12” single of “Fantasisin'” and “I Choose You”, and reviewed these here on Soul Express along with Carlton J. Smith's great 7" earlier this year. That rightly got a few pulses racing – mine included. I have been since very eager to hear more – and here it is, maybe a wee bit late for Christmas, but what better than to kick off 2008 with this wonderful set?

I always felt that the closing of the 80s saw the demise of proper soulful dance music. Swingbeat was a totally new beast and sounded increasingly outdated and embarrassing with every week that passed, and today's modern – sharp intake of breath! - R&B is totally devoid of anything that may make it memorable or special. The 80s, you see, may have been the decade of mechanisation as far as music was concerned, but it was also, for me, the decade of the feel-good groove. Van McCoy once said that “I am always mindful of groove, but why can't the groove be elegant?” The answer is that it can be.

Here we are in 2007 with this wonderful duo, Confection, made up of Josh Beagley and Juanita Tippins from all the way Down Under. The music on here is exactly what this doctor ordered: soulful, dancefloor friendly grooves with plenty of elegance and kick-ass melodies. If you still adore the sounds of the 80s – up to, say 1985, then this will be up your street. Memories of Paul Laurence, Kashif, Juicy, The SOS Band Evelyn King are all brought to the surface. The tapping rhythms, the synths, the slap bass and real lyrics and real singing all auger well for our listening pleasure. The Flyte Tyme styled groover “Fantasisin'” is one of THE releases of 2007 and the edited (and for these ears the preferable) version is here in all its CD glory. Within seconds I am transported back to the summer of 1984. How wonderful is that? NEW music that feels happy and evokes such happy feelings?! “I Choose You” - the Paul Laurence sound revamped for the 21st Century – is a serious basspin trembler and toe-tapper; again one of the strongest efforts of 2007.

Of the new songs...oh yes, I am in 80s heaven here, folks!!!! The cheeky “Flirt” is, perhaps, a bit on the poppy side BUT the cheeriness and infectious edge will surely win you over. I was blown away by the quirky “I Gotta Thing (4 U)” resplendent with spacey keyboards and percussion courtesy of Sunil de Silva. Furthermore, the superb “Feel It Comin'” has its roots in the mid-80s Chic sound. Bernard Edwards would surely be pleased with what the guys have done here.

For me the absolute stonking KILLER is the modern classic “You Got The Love”. All I needed was to hear the opening guitar and the rollickingly good rhythm and I was immediately in soul music heaven. You can poke all your R&B and Rap and what have you. The whole lot can go to hell in a hand basket via next day delivery as far as I am concerned – all for the sake of this one song. This should be massive on the dancefloors. The kids have already rucked up the shagpile to it, and proves to me what children of admirable taste they are. This is a remarkable set and I heartily recommend it as one of the guv'nor releases of the moment. Ignore at your peril.

- Barry Towler

Other CD Reviews
Albums of the Month in 2007
Albums of the Month in 2006
Albums of the Month in 2005
Albums of the Month in 2004
Albums of the Month in 2003
Albums of the Month in 2002
Albums of the Month in 2001
Albums of the Month in 2000
Albums of the Month in 1999
Albums of the Month in 1998
Albums of the Month in 1997

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