on 4 April 2012
* * * and half.
On paper, it's an amazing idea: get British retro-soul diva Alice Russell into the studio with her compatriot and fellow legend of old-school grooves Quantic, and see what happens.
To some degree, the results are delightfully predictable: Quantic is great at putting together vintage funk and Latin musical concepts and recording them in such a way that you have to double-check to make sure the tracks weren't laid down 40 years ago.
And at its best, this album draws on classic sounds and arrangements but creates something new and wonderful with them.
The horns (and flute) on "Magdalena" perfectly complement Russell's powerful voice, "Travelling Song" is a gorgeous piece of minor-key soul, and "I'd Cry" is a similarly lovely romantic plea in a Latin-soul style.
When the album isn't at its best, though, it falls prey to the temptation of sonic verisimilitude, as if what made 1960s soul music great was the fact that drums tended to be poorly miked ("Look Around the Corner") and pianos not always perfectly tuned ("I'll Keep My Light in My Window").
More serious, though, is the fundamental artistic mismatch that gradually becomes clear: Russell's powerhouse voice is not used to best advantage on the lightly dancing Latin-soul grooves that are Quantic's strength, and so on a number of tracks it sounds as if she's a racehorse being kept to a trot.
That's not enough to keep this from being a very good album, but it prevents it from being a great one. R. Anderson
on 3 June 2012
As mentioned by another reviewer, the album doesn't really push the boundaries of soul and the mixture of Quantic and Alice Russell, whilst great for the most part, isn't as magical a combination as it could be. This sounds a little harsh, as taking the album as a whole it is still remains better than most pop albums around today - there is a real understanding of instruments and layers of rhythm here.
on 9 May 2012
This is THE sound of Summer 2012! The album starts with the stand out single 'Look around the corner', with tones of Minnie Ripperton's Les Fleurs. Alice Russell warm tones, and soulful inflection mixes seamlessly with the Combo Barbaro sound. This has been blended with the soft touch of Quantic. If you listen to this, like me, you will want to hear and know more about this talented group of people.
on 13 October 2015
fantastic album, one of those which feels really natural, like a group of talented musicians went into a studio and just played.
the songs are realtively simple which allows the performers to shine. individually everyone is great, especially Alice, but it never comes across like it's all about her, it's very much a group effort with fills and flourishes from every other instrument catching your ear at different times.