EDDIE SEA CALDWELL: Starz (Label: Moon City Music)

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One of last year’s best indie soul sets was ‘Mooncity’ from Eddie “Sea” Caldwell. Though Eddie’s name took top billing on the album, the set really was a various artists collection with a great band of musicians and vocalists allowing Eddie to flesh out his dream of getting soul back to basics. Well, the Chicago-based writer, producer, arranger and musician hasn’t hung about – he’s back with a brand new set which, like ‘Mooncity’ is another ensemble affair with people like vocalist Shaunita Toussaint and Cameo bassist Aaron Mills giving Eddie huge support throughout. The atmosphere and flavour is also very similar to ‘Mooncity’ – that’s to say it’s all about a groove, a feeling … an ambience rather than a disparate collection of songs making it difficult to cherry pick standouts. That said, though, the opener, ‘Living In a World Of Fantasy’ is very strong. It’s built on tight beats and there’s a very catchy hook in the chorus. If you can imagine, it possesses an ethereal power that’s hard to pin down… and indeed the whole LP has an other-worldly quality about it, which in some places becomes almost eerie – try ‘Sandman’ or the sitar-led ‘No Chance’ to understand. Variety comes with the Spanish flavour of ‘Tikii Room’ and there’s a hint of Latin too about the sax-filled groove that is ‘Dreams’. The cleverly-titled ‘Ex Factor’ is another good tune – with a feeling as desperate as the tale of lost love it recounts. But as I said this isn’t an LP to cherry pick. Like ‘Mooncity’ this is one to let wash around you and if you were intrigued by that set, you’ll love this one too.
(BB) 3/5