THE TIBBS: Keep It To Yourself (Record Kicks)

The Tibbs are Holland’s premier soul and funk outfit. We’ve been following their career since we discovered their convincing 2016 album, ‘Takin’ Over’. We learned that the band had been together since 2012 and since then they’d been wowing audiences right across the Low Countries with their contemporary twist on retro soul. In 2020 the band released a new album, ‘Another Shot Fired ‘and though by then the lineup had changed slightly and they’d installed a new lead singer – Roxanne Hartog, their  sound was essentially the same… organic, old school soul with a very particular European flavour.

‘Keep It To Yourself’ is the Tibbs’ latest album and  for the 12 tracker Ms Hartog’s still out front, peddling soulful vocals over an authentic, enthusiastic, analogue-sounding backdrop which has been produced by Paul Willemsen and mastered in Nashville by soul veteran Bob Olhsson, who used to cut vinyl for Motown back in the day!

The album was heralded by the single, ‘Give Me A Reason’. It was (indeed is) a real throwback sound – big, brassy, beaty. It’s rightly joyous and there’s plenty more of the same on the album, like the opening track, ‘Ain’t It Funny’. This one’s been put together from all  the ingredients that makes classic Northern soul so infectious! ‘Last Train’ and ‘’Pyjama Party’ deliver more breeze and brightness.

The Tibbs, though, are no one trick ponies. They’ve clearly been listening to classic funk. ‘Can’t Teach An Old Dog New Tricks’ is down and  dirty; ‘Keep It To Yourself’ is pacier but there’s a parping funk undertow. Southern soul ballads? They’re in the Tibbs’ locker too. ‘For Lack Of Better Words’ is moody, while ‘Guess I’m Guilty’ and the closing ‘In Orbit’ clearly take their inspiration from soul’s southern heartlands. Speaking of which, ‘Chicken Bones’ offers real variety. It’s an instrumental that clearly owes something to Booker T’s Memphis but it’s nothing like anything he crafted with his MGs. It’s a bold, brassy, brash statement that’s hard to pin down!

Which leaves us with the track  I keep coming back to, ‘Rafaela’. This is sweet and lovely; gentle and heart-warming. There’s a lovely, understated  vocal from Ms Hartog while the boys in the band deliver just  the right level of sympathetic, brassy accompaniment – maybe a little like Tower Of Power in more mellow moments, though, of course, with a femme vocal! Out now

(BB) 4/5