THE EMBERS: The Show Must Go On (Label: Bluewater)

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THE EMBERS: The Show Must Go On

The Embers must be the perfect modern soul group. The core members have been round the musical block several times while the sounds they purvey have that delicious, comforting retro feel. In other words they’re not really “modern” at all but in the world of music biz tags, “modern soul” is how they’re categorized… and I guess there’s nothing wrong with that. The Embers, themselves, won’t be bothered; they have a decent fan base and know how to keep their followers happy. Said fan base will revel in the “new” familiarity of the music here, particularly the big opener, ‘The Last Time I’m Saying Goodbye’. It has all the key ingredients of what you can expect from the Embers – sweet melody, great vocals, sympathetic harmonies, real instrumentation and a precise rhythm that echoes the song’s old-fashioned structure. You see most Embers’ songs have a beginning, middle and an end … see what I meant about old-fashioned? Dip in anywhere here and you’ll enjoy more of the same, what’s more you’ll be metaphorically scratching your head wondering where you’ve heard a particular line, a snatch of melody or a vocal inflection before. ‘Loving On Borrowed Time’, for instance, has the feel of an old Blue Magic ballad, ‘Not So Long Ago’ might recall the innocence of a Peaches and Herb duet while ‘I’ve Done Things With You’ knicks the opening line from ‘How Do You Keep The Music Playing’. Over the dozen cuts, though, my main point of reference was mellow-moment Tower of Power. However, the Embers are Tower of Power without the power and indeed the passion. At the end of the day, the Embers make a polite, even sanitized, version of modern soul. Not that that will bother their fans – especially the Northwest modern soul crew. They’ll lap up the cosy familiarly of ‘The Show Must Go On’ but I can’t help thinking that there’s something more adventurous, more exciting and, dare I say it, more truly soulful out there. This album’s currently available via
(BB) 3/5