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Soul Express Album Review


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HEIDI
The Love Album
UK Havavision Records , 2008

Heidi Spiliopoulos is yet another new rising star in 2008. Her debut album, “The Love Album”, for the UK's Havavision Records is marketed through www.soulchoonz.com. You know me by now, I cannot resist a fine looking young femme at any time (I can resist everything except temptation!), let alone one who creates soulful, romantic jams such as these! Heidi is what I call a gentle vocalist, extremely feminine and sexy and has penned much of the material herself; the music is what we would call CLASSY. The fender rhodes, gentle percussion and horns form the backbone to this retro-sounding project. The feel is of a dreamy mid 70s soul album with some beefier beats reminding us that this is 2008.

I'm not one to rave about soul from the UK, generally, but this is classy UK Soul at its best. The first song that really blows me away is the KILLER “Flow Like A River”. This track is pure genius: the swirling strings, dreamy, carefree keys, sultry synth and laissez-faire percussion all point towards the fact that spring is on its way (March storms, powercuts and driving rain aside!) – and this is one of THOSE songs that I will be blaring out to all and sundry during those warmer, sunnier days. This is pure class and the CD is a must for this and this alone. However, it doesn't stop there. A gorgeous floater called “If We” is up for consideration next. The feel, again, is of a warm summer day – the beats more clonking and clappy a la the latest Brian McKnight set. This should do the business on quality UK radio, such as Solar.

For a more Latin edge, the acoustic “No Pain” offers us a sublime piece of stripped-bare essential choonage. Who needs the likes of Amy Whine House with artists like this about? It beats me, it really does. The sweet “Family Love” again utilises some nice string affects, and Heidi has an opportunity to show us again how much clarity and strength she has in her voice. Again, this is class. As you know, I love the flute. “Only Loves Goes On” has all the hallmarks of an early Erykah Badu cut (not like her dreadful new album), the flute takes on its own life and a weird yet very musical blend is made here. At once slightly discordant, but cleverly interplayed scales and beats all held together by a very free glue courtesy of the backing vocals and real instruments. Interesting, aurally challenging yet very, very good!

Heidi is, I suppose, more than a neo-soul artist. Like Erykah Badu used to do (if not better) before things went pear-shaped this Lady can turn to jazz at a glance. The jazzy club smoker “My Eyes” offers Heidi to be viewed from an altogether different perspective. This shows that the musical world really is her Oyster. This Lady can do little wrong. Take the exquisite laid back soul-jazz of “Lost In You”for example. Not many of today's artists can pull off material like this. This takes real talent! Talking of which, the beautiful Finnish talent of Janita comes to mind with the SUPERB duet with Von Quest, “You Know I'm Ready”. Another classy track that is definitely a winner and deserves all the exposure it can get.

The closing cut “The Luurrve Jam” is right in the pocket – even if I detest the title – well, more of the spelling that anything else! LOL. There's a considerable silence between the opening of the song and the main chunk of it – so worry ye not as your CD player / iPod, computer, whatever they've invented since I last ventured from my cave is NOT faulty! “Thank You Star” is an apt track. I would like to close the review by saying “Thank you, star” for that is what we have here. Heidi is a genuine find and the support she has from the talented musicians and co-writers is extremely sympathetic to her ample talents. Ignore this at your peril. Quality all the way.
- Barry Towler

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