TANIKA CHARLES: The Gumption (Record Kicks)

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Canadian soul singer Tanika Charles first came amongst us with her catchy ‘Endless Chain’ a year or so ago. The tune was from her ‘Soul Run’ album which really took off after she licensed it to the Record Kicks label and that label has shown its confidence in Ms C by releasing her second full length album, ‘The Gumption’ which sonically takes off where ‘Soul Run’ ended… that’s to say it delivers a punchy modern soul sound which at the same time pays huge respect to soul’s golden age.

The 12 tracker has been produced by a team – DJ Kemo, Chin Injeti, Daniel Lee, Kevin Henkel and Marlon James. All are well-respected Canadian musos and despite their number the album has a real cohesion and unity – secured by Tanika’s consistent and warm soulful delivery and the team’s respect for old school soul values.

Amongst the album’s highlights is the closing ‘Always Restless’ – a sweet ballad with the gentlest of atmospheres. Vocally it shows that Tanika is a real contender. ‘Look At Us Now’ is another ballad – slightly tougher, its flavour is redolent of classic Southern soul. The most striking of the up-tempo numbers is the Northern sounding ‘Upside Down’. It’s rough round the edges and sounds like it could have come from some  60’s obscure US indie studio. In fact, that’s this album’s attraction … it’s honest and for real –a far cry from the polished, smooth soul that seems to win the airplay these days.

The album’s title by the way is a reference to the opening lines of the opening track, the rolling, insistent ‘Tell Me Something’ but it also alludes to Tanika’s stickabilty and her doggedness to deliver what she believes in.

Tanika Charles’ ‘The Gumption’ will be officially released in May and you can learn more about Ms C by checking out our interview with her. Go to out interview archive

(BB) 4/5