MICA PARIS: Born Again (Label: Rhythm Riders Records)

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MICA PARIS: Born Again

The lovely Mica Paris is one of the UK’s best true soul singers. But if you read our revealing interview with her (see our news pages), you’ll discover that despite an emotive, gospel-reared voice, Mica’s found it really hard to find a decent recording deal… till now that is. It appears that a mysterious hedge fund put up the money for Mica and producer Brian Rawling to go into a studio and get the lady on the comeback trail (though she’s adamant she’s never been away). However, it seems that said hedge fund people wanted some kind of return for their cash (they’re like that, I believe) so Ms. P and Mr. R have concocted and album that touches all kinds of bases in the hope that something will strike a contemporary note and bring the rewards. That contemporary note is most obvious in the opener, ‘Baby Come Back Now’ and the crisp ‘Tonight’. Both are built on that quirky syncopation that brought success to Amy Winehouse and Duffy and both are catchy and infectious. ‘I Remember’ is out of the same bag. It’s one of those Northern soul pastiches that the modern pop brigade is so fond of – but which really has nothing to do with real Northern soul except in the speed of the beats. Still on the current vibe -the LP’s title track is a tender little ballad that has the feel of modern R&B, while ‘Nothing But The Truth’ and ‘Hold On’ have a hint of indie arena pop about them. But Mica’s at her best when she does what she knows she can do best – real, raw soul and there are two storming examples of that here. First up, there’s a lovely take on Eric Benet’s ‘You’re The Only One’. It’s a fabulously catchy soul ballad and Mica does it proud, while on Keyshia Cole’s ‘I Remember’ she clearly outdoes the song’s creator. It’s a beautiful recording – enhanced with the sweetest sting section and a hook that will stay with you for days. Add to those a stripped down, acoustic revisit to ‘My One Temptation’ and a live version of ‘Summertime’ and you’ll understand my opening sentence and the injustices of her inability to secure proper deals. Listen to ‘You’re The Only One’, ‘I Remember’, ‘My One Temptation’ or ‘Summertime’ and you’ll realize that all the bouffanted, award-laden, media-feted darlings come nowhere in the Mica Paris-led soul stakes. The album is currently available from the usual outets including – http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewAlbum?id=316186167&s=143444
http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B002B48TWY/ref=mu_dm_alb_dp and http://www.play.com/Music/MP3-Download-Album/4-/10131500/-/Product.html

(BB) 4/5