Dwele continues to grow as a neo-soul artist with his fifth album. Not a well known artist in the UK; he maintains a hard core underground following from soul fans who probably like Maxwell and Raheem DeVuaghn (guest artist on track 4)which are obvious comparisons. This album offers a sophisticated production of early eighties slow jam style soul. Intricate melodies are underpinned by some old school keyboard work which gratefully avoids the excess of electronic hand claps which where popular and overused in R'n'B music at the time. Retro samples add to the mix and the familiarity of the sample in 'Going Leaving' sets the nostalgic "eighties babies" theme throughout. Dam it!-What is that keyboard sample? The track has a strong Maze feel to it but not sure if they are the source of the sample but for me this is the obvious single from the album.'Takes22Tango' is a lighter affair which combines a heavy bass line with some romantic sexual references.The romantic references continue throughout the first half of the album without being too cheesy or clichéd although the lyric "standing at the bus stop sucking on a lollipop" may be a little contrived for some. The negative of "side 1" (to use a vinyl reference) is that it is quite restricted in its clear bedroom focus and rarely picks up the groove beyond this level. Aimed more at post candlelight dinner territory than either the dance floor or for driving entertainment makes this quite specific mood music. Nice harmonies pervade amidst the slick production.
Things pick up a bit in the second half which imports some guest singers/rappers to up the tempo.'Swank' offers some sensuous trumpet in a more jazz tinged style with a really nice groove which would sadly raise a bit of a snigger from teenage boys in the UK if cockney slang where adapted in the title! 'Patrick Ronald' ups the eighties groove stakes with the previously mentioned hand-claps and bass synth. For me 'Special' and 'Love Triangle' capture the spirit of the eighties rare groove scene which is still popular today.'Frankly My Dear' is a vocal showcase finale for Dwele and a laid back groove conclusion to the album. If you enjoy quiet storm style soul and mellow eighties dance music there is sufficient to keep you entertained here. Dwele's falsetto voice does require one to be in a certain mood to play it so I advise that you check out samples before making a whole album purchase. A nice album probably reserved by most for special (bedroom?) occasions.
Im a big Dwele fan. This album has lots of songs which are catchy, well written & of course with excellent vocals, harmony and rendition. I would recommend it to any neo soul lover. I had it on repeat in my car for weeks. Enjoy