Front Page

CD Shop

New Releases

Forthcoming Releases

The latest printed issue

Back Issues

Serious Soul Chart

Quality Time Cream Cuts

Album of the Month

CD Reviews

Editorial Columns


Readers' Favourites



The Soul Express Album of the Month

April 2003


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

Kindred 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 ten years.

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

Other 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

Other CD reviews
Back to our home page