KINDRED THE FAMILY SOULSURRENDER TO LOVE
Hidden Beach, 2003
1) Ryva 2) Surrender to Love 3) Rhythm of Life
4) Far Away 5) Weather the Storm 6) We 7) Stars 8) I Am 9) Family Song
(Reprise) 10) What Happens Now 11) Meant to Be 12) Commitment 13) Spread the Word
14) If I 15) Entertain the Peoplez (Interlude) 16) Donít Wanna Suffer (Carbon
Copy) 17) Partyís Over 18) Freedom 19) Clap Your Hands (Interlude) 20) Rhythm
of Life (King Britt Remix)
Produced by Anthony Bell, Elise Perry, Kindred
the Family Soul, David Ivory, Steve Harvey, Ivan Dupťe, Chuck Treese, Andre
Harris, Vidal Davis, James Poyser, 88-Keys, King Britt
the Family Soul are a Philadelphia-based husband-and-wife duo of Fatin Dantzler
and Aja Graydon, both of whom are extremely soulful vocalists. Whatís more, the
backings on this, their debut album, feature a full band with a fantastic brass
section; in fact, I canít think of a better-sounding record made in the past
Where do I start? Last yearís promo single pick Rhythm of Life has an apt
title and is a neo-soul anthem in the making. As good as Erykah Baduís Didnít
Cha Know, Jill Scottís Long Walk or Julie Dexterís Love.
Aja sounds here like a cross between Jill Scott and Ledisi.
The uplifting mid-tempo tune Meant to Be is another personal favourite: it
is so catchy it could well lift the album to the top of the charts if released
as a single. What a horn arrangement! What a bassline!
Far Away is a pleasant midtempo number with superb
string flourishes. Weather the Storm is a gorgeous jazzy mid-ballad with
an arrangement made in heaven: just check out those bass fills and marvel at
the combination of flute, muted trumpet and flugelhorn. Stars
is a tender ballad floater; the same description applies to I Am
with its subtle percussion. I could describe these cuts as the perfect
combination of the 70s-inspired ďmahogany soulĒ of Angie Stone and the
jazzy neo-Bartz-ism of Fertile Ground
We is a jazzy spoken-word number featuring
poetess Ursula Rucker; it has a hypnotic bassline and a percussive
backdrop youíd expect to find on an early-70s Roy Ayers album. There are
also two full-blooded funk tracks, Spread the Word and Donít Wanna
Suffer. The former is based on the excellent Afro-tinged funk instrumental River
Niger by War and features excellent flute, trombone, and saxophone solos from Damon
Bennett, Jeff Bradshaw, Jarrett Miles and Daud El Bakara.
The latter is an angry uptempo with J.B.ís-influenced guitar work.
Sophisti-soul connoisseurs will be more than satisfied with If I,
a first-class jazz-soul floater, and Contentment, an achingly soulful
ballad reminiscent of Minnie Ripertonís best 70s offerings.
The only track I donít particularly care for is the opening title cut with its
oddly synthetic arrangement. But it is forgiven and forgotten by the time we
reach Partyís Over, a groovy R&B tune.
It seems my Album of the Year has already arrived. (9) -KH