VARIOUS : Soul Unsigned Volume 1 (Label: Soul Unsigned)

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VARIOUS : Soul Unsigned Volume 1

In less than year Phil Driver’s Soul Unsigned project has won a reputation that would be the envy of much longer established soul outfits. With two successful EPs under his belt, the Solar Radio DJ now offers a 14 track album, which – like those two EPs – showcases sweet soul music from unsigned indie acts. Where this album scores over the four-trackers and indeed over many current modern soul compilation albums is in the variety of the sounds. There are, of course, plenty of cuts that will delight the modern soul room dancers… the opener, ‘She’ from the oddly named Kre8iV 4ce springs to mind. With ever-reliable Noel McKoy on vocals, the beats are crisp and the there’s a delicious flavour of Maze to the whole thing. Excellent Gentlemen’s ‘No Doubt About It’ is another for the modern room. A tad slower than ‘She’, it’s still tight enough to set feet tapping. Something different? Well try Moses Mayes’ ‘Intrafusion’. The Canadians concoct a big funk item with a real retro feel. Think AWB meets Brass Construction with Herbie Hancock on keys! Different again is Dreemtime’s ‘Sisco’. This is a real up-tempo cut and though not strictly house it will have you reaching for those old Naked compilations. Elsewhere, Mothergroove’s ‘Don’t Waste Your Time’ and Yohimbo’s ‘Love ESC’ both have a lazy jazz undercurrent, while Majahba’s ‘Womaniser’ is brassy and bassy – like Tower of Power in their mellower moments. Good too to have Harmabe’s 2003 ‘Lazy’ back. It’s another of the collection’s “up” moments and proves that live, organic music will always score over programmed, synthetic concoctions. You can’t help liking it. Indeed there’s nothing here that’s not to like. It’s all wonderful, understated soul in all kinds of appealing hues … dance, chill, groove or get down – do it all here.
(BB) 4/5