Great soul music gets to you in all kinds of ways. Of course, you’re always on the lookout for new music from you favourite artists. Naturally, because of your preferences, you actively seek it out. Some soul comes with an explosion of pre-release publicity and hype and sometimes (not that often) the end product does match the hype. More and more these days great soul music kind of sneaks up on you. Without too much publicity and totally lacking fanfares, you kind of stumble across it… it could be a random track heard on the radio or in club; you might pick it up via the internet; or it could be a recommendation from a trusted source. One such trusted source is soul promoter Gary Van Den Buscche who runs the excellent DSG web site and label (remember SoulLutions, Samuel D Sanders, the ‘Soul Town’ remixes etc). Gary’s just picked up on this excellent 11 tracker from UK soul duo Mather & Kingdon and without a huge publicity campaign the pair’s music is “sneaking up” on soul tastemakers all over the place and the reason why is simple…. it’s the sheer quality of the music M & K offer.
First the bit of background that we know. Stuart Mather and Chris Kingdon are a writing duo who say their influences were diverse… Swing, Motown, classical… even reggae! To hone their craft they listened to the work of the great soul writers and became fans of specialist soul radio. Eventually the two formed a band, Solid Ground – named for the Ronnie Laws album. That’s long gone now and Stuart and Chris currently concentrate on producing music and ‘Life’s So Sweet’ is their debut collaborative effort.
Musically the set blends soul with smooth jazz and soulful house and the combination creates a real summer good feel. Comparisons? Well listen and you’ll hear all kinds of everything….good ‘ole Drizabone, Kenny Thomas, Shakatak, Down To The Bone, Tortured Soul et al. Hear the M&K sound at its best on the track that’s currently getting the airplay and the club spins…. the delightfully languid ‘All That I Need’.
But ‘Life’s So Sweet’ is no one track album… each cut comes recommended and all we can do here is point you towards one or two. Try these for starters…. ‘Hold On’ is ultra catchy; ‘Make Believe’ is a lovely, sweet ballad; ‘Soul Night’ is a rippling ’80s groove. But I guess the LP’s focal point is the title cut. Prefaced by a short piano sketch, ‘Life’s So Sweet’ crashes in on a raft of tight beats before a sweet vocal floats over some magical, crystalline keys… just enough to intrigue. This is excellent soulful house with the emphasis on soul. It’s one of many fine tunes herein. so glad I let this “sneak up” on me!