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Soul Express CD Review



TREI: This Is Me
(US Inline Entertainment, 2004)
Trei's Intro - Complete Me - Invitation - Hooked - Love Is Lifting Me - Super Of THe Natural - Thank You: Interlude - Do You Know - Peace - Rain - I Can Only Be Me

This beautiful new talent, Trei (pronounced Tree) delivers what can only be one of the most consistent soul albums thus far in 2005. This major talent has the looks and voice of an angel and deserves much, much greater things in the years to come. Her writing skills are second to none and her vocal delivery is smooth, soulful and so precise she is spot-on. This Lady has more talent in one hair on her head than any of the mass-produced untalents out there that cram the R&B charts like an overflowing trashcan such as Faith Evens, Mary J Bilge, Ashanti, Tweet and Caira all lumped together. Not that that is difficult. The important thing is that Trei is true to herself and her craft and in today's musical anti-culture that is something we need to trumpet, applaud and celebrate.

In the good old days Trei would have been snapped up by a major record label and given promotion, but this is not the method of the industry today, it is the madness. We have to be thankful that we hear albums like this at all today and thanks to Trei and the likes of CD Baby for making this happen. Trei and her like are a panacea and a safe haven for those of us who still hold dear little things such as melody, tune, coherence and talent! This is major label quality, and not surprising as Trei enlisted the help of studio ace Eric Fleming who is a veteran of projects with Cindy Lauper and Miki Howard to collaborate. How good is this?! The more you sit and listen to this CD, the more you feel that this would make a great live performance. I felt this way about the recent superb Sister Sledge CD. If you are reading this in the US and Trei is ever in your area please check her out. The quality of the set - in holistic terms - is one akin to what Nikita Germaine produced early in the 90s.

The sexy, compulsive and comforting rhythm of "Complete Me" really was an instant hit on these ears and Trei's generous vocals prove their mettle within the first minute. We are not talking vocal teeny R&B lightweights here. Take, for instance, the superb "Invitation", which shows how smooth Trei can deliver a groove. There is a jazzier side to this young Lady and the midtempo belter "Hooked" displays this in both melody and voice. I think you will be very impressed by this point and should certainly be a fan by the time the brilliant "Love Is Lifting Me" hits your ears. I was reminded of the likes of classy female artists such as Tina Moore and the classy efforts on her particular CD.

"Super On The Natural" follows in a very similar manner and is overtowered by the impressive, yet too short "Thank You" interlude. I thnk, though, that one of my close favourites is the irresistible "Do You Know". I love the lyrics and the music just gets better and better on every hearing. This is classy real soul for 2005. Accept no inferiors or imitations.

"Peace" presents itself in a great light, too, with some very funky keyboard work that harkens back to Eddie Kendricks' "Keep On Truckin'" married to a lively, jogging beat that again smacks of quality 90s material. "Rain" will get your head nodding with its harder, crunchy beat and the vocals / backing vocals seriously ooze quality. Trei has confirmed that talents like her CAN produce major label quality on their own without having their creativity and individuality torn out of them.

Fitting, then, that the last SUPERB track is the glorious beat ballad "I Can Only Be Me". You can, and that's fine with me. Trei has a great future and although compared to many major artists this is an acorn of a CD, we all know what grows from acorns don't we? Please head off to CD Baby and check out Trei. This comes highly recommended, and is essential for connoisseurs of quality soul / R&B.
-Barry Towler


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