STYLE: R&B RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 167383-26525 LABEL: Tyscot 492693 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1 RELEASE DATE: 2017-11-24 RRP: £12.99
Reviewed by Lins Honeyman
Somewhat strangely, the new release from Buffalo, NY-based R&B artist Carl West begins with an intro that would sound at home in a horror movie with sinister children's laughter and ominous music accompanying West's foreboding "it started out as an innocent game of hide and seek" voiceover. However, things soon brighten up with the vocally-impressive West sounding not unlike British soul singer Seal on a collection of well-crafted songs that tell of our propensity for hiding from God and the benefits that come when we seek his face. For instance, the considered "Who I Am" charts the singer's past reliance on others instead of Jesus whilst the polished R&B of "Focus" and the advisory "Be Alright" leads the listener towards a realisation that trusting in God is the answer. Arguably the highlight of this satisfying release, the delightfully fractured title track sums up the album's overriding theme whilst showcasing producer and co-writer Marquis Boone's ability to conjure up a range of inventive and fitting musical backdrops that allow the main man's substantial vocal talents to shine.
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Using his guitar, singer/songwriter C WEST creates inspirational life songs with stylings that blend R&B, Pop & Rock, forming his own unique musical potpourri. The Buffalo, NY native calls it decision making music because the listeners will hear musical messages drawn from the life experiences of C West that speak about the effects of positivity, negativity and spiritual growth, with the options to choose his or her own path.
Lead single "Focus" earned #1 Billboard Gospel Most Added and debuted at #28 on the Billboard Gospel Airplay Chart (issue date 7/01) as well as debuting at #27 on the Mediabase Gospel Songs Chart. Songs such as "Hide & Seek," "Breaks Your Heart" & "Unusual Love" will have listeners hard pressed to believe that West is only 20 years old. His perspective and lyrical styling speaks to a maturity beyond his age. However, songs like "Who I Am" & "Don't Let Me Down" create a beautiful dichotomy as he shares the uncertainty and vulnerability of his youth, dependence on God for direction, understanding and assistance through the vicissitudes of life.