VARIOUS: Soul Unsigned Volume 4 (Label: Soul Unsigned)

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VARIOUS: Soul Unsigned Volume 4

This is Soul Unsigned’s fourth foray into the unchartered waters of the indie and unsigned soul scene and to my ears it’s the label’s most varied collection to date – varied in terms of the different types of soul featured and so, so diverse in its sourcing. Amongst the generous 14 cuts we have music from Sweden, Switzerland, Romania, Canada, France, the UK and, naturally, the States and where different cuts might be defined (by those who like that sort of thing) as “modern”, “neo”, “jazz-funk”, “organic”, “retro” or indeed anything else, what they all have in common is a groove that can’t be described as anything other than “soul” and, what’s more, where big name artists sometimes sound as if they’re going through the musical motions to fulfil contractual obligations, here all the artists clearly enjoyed making their music and if it makes them any money along the way, all well and good – but, listening, you can just feel their joy at being let loose in a studio to express themselves. Let’s then look at some of this joyous music to make sense of all this rambling! First up is real corker – ‘Must Be Love’ from Peo featuring the vocals of Mirjam. Compiler Phil Driver always opens Soul Unsigned sets strongly, and here he’s dug out a modern soul gem. It has the same feel as Peo’s biggest tune – ‘Tonight’ – that’s so say it’s eminently danceable and with lovely elements of Drizabone, Incognito and the Brand New Heavies about it. Surprising how our Euro cousins can conjure up great new soul with a huge respect for the past! There’s more of the same from Low-D, featuring Gary Poole. Their ‘You Bring The Change’ is another crisp little retro style beater as is Paul MacInnes’ ‘Sunshine’ (some might suggest that in places the melody here is similar to ‘Don’t Blame It On The Boogie’). Different again are the organic feel of The Doggett Brothers’ ‘Azure Sky’ (jazz-funk renaissance anyone?), the lazy, lounge style ballad that is ‘Night And Day’ from Dreemtime, the simple yet effective ‘Love Me Proper’ from Karltone, and the almost poppy but ultra-catchy ‘My World’ from Thia Jasmine. See what I meant up top about variety? And though I’m sure that in reality not everyone will love everything on the album, the collection once again proves that there’s still a hell of a lot of soul out there being made by real enthusiasts who know and love their music. They deserve our support.
(BB) 4/5