COOL MILLION: Back For More (Label: Sed Soul)

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  • COOL MILLION: Back For More (Label: Sed Soul)

One of the best modern soul sets of the last eighteen months or so was Cool Million’s ‘Going Out Tonight’. Its delicious retro grooves beguiled pundits and punters alike and its success encouraged the Cool Million duo (Rob Hardt and Frank Ryle) to hone their sound further and set up their own label – which they now officially launch with the appropriately titled ‘Back for More’. Such is Cool Million’s reputation in the soul world now that Frank and Rob had few problems in bringing in some big name vocalists to help them with the album. So, here, amongst others, you can enjoy the revitalized talents of people like Meli’sa Morgan, Eugene and Dee Dee Wilde, Peggi Blu, Al Broomfield, Noel McKoy and Rena Scott. Essentially, that cast list is the only difference between this newie and ‘Going Out Tonight’. The Cool Million sound is still the same – the soul of the 80s with a modern twist … crafted with care, put together with a mix of reverence and love, instilled with a real commitment to quality and – like its source material, deeply soulful. As before you’ll find yourself wondering where – in the 80s – did that particular riff, melody, lyric or instrumental fill first appear? The answer – oddly – is everywhere and nowhere. Cool Million don’t sample or filch; because of their knowledge and love of that period’s soul styles they can produce their own unique version of it. The album opens with what will be already familiar to committed modern soulsters. The Meli’sa Morgan-vocalised ‘Sweet Baby’ has been around for a month or two as a 12″ and a download single and it’s rightly won the affections of the modern soul dance brigade. It’s nothing too wild, of course, just a bunch of tight, sophisticated beats, big SOS Band synth chords and a great vocal. There are lots, lots more for the rug cutters. I particularly like ‘Back For More’ featuring Eugene Wilde. It’s bright and brisk and pleasantly annoying ‘cos you just won’t be able to pin down its source sound…ditto, ‘Making Love’ (Jeniqua on vocals here). That tune’s vocal hook and cascading keys are annoyingly familiar but frustratingly difficult to nail. For those who like things a little more sedate the Peggi Blu moment – ‘I See You’ – will fit the bill perfectly. But ‘Back For More’ is really about the dance floor and its core sound is typified by the clever word play song that is ‘Cool To Make A Million’ featuring Leroy Burgess on vocals and the almost ‘Treat Her Like A Lady’ sound-alike ‘Stay Close’ (featuring Al Broomfield). Both cuts would sit perfectly on those classic 80s Soul Weekender compilations that are eternally popular and in essence that’s the appeal of this album. If 80s soul – and everything that went with it (the clubs, the parties, the fashions, the relationships, the weekenders) – is your thing, you’ll love this album. That said, anyone who’s up for good time soul that doesn’t make any intellectual demands on them will love this too.
(BB) 4/5