EN VOGUE; Electric Cafe (Eone)


Well, it’s been a long time coming, but at last we have a new album from the new look En Vogue. I think it was almost twelve months ago that we were treated to a new single from the trio…. ‘I’m Good’. We were told back then that the release heralded a new long player and isn’t it a good job that fans are a patient bunch?

Whatever, the collection ‘Electric Cafe’ is now available and the trio Cindy Heron-Braggs, Terry Ellis and Rhona Bennett deliver what long-time devotees have come to expect – good-time, pop-flavoured contemporary R&B garnished with sweet harmonies and, when required, a soulful delivery.

Sadly, that soul delivery is all too often swamped by electro gimmickry, instrumentation and effects. Apologists would, of course, argue that the album is called ‘Electric Cafe’ so that’s what we should expect. Yes, OK, and that’s what we get. Cuts like ‘Oceans Deep’, ‘Live’ and the title cut are just a wee bit synthetic to hit the soul spot, while ‘Love The Way’ is dire Euro pop…. so bad it could win the Eurovision!

On the plus side that ‘I’m Good’ still sounds good but the best soul cut is the unprepossessing ‘Déjà Vu’. This is a proper song with a an old school feel about it but I’ve noticed on En Vogue fan sites that this is the one most of the trio’s devotees don’t dig. Shows you what I know! I think, though, that we’d agree that the Snoop Dogg collaboration, ‘Have A Seat’ is a good ‘un…. a contemporary R&B rumble, tight harmonies and a bit of typically, tongue in cheek humour from Mr. Broadus.

(BB) 3/5