STYLE: R&B RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 44407-13662 LABEL: 1nC Promotions 5050521007342 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1 RRP: £10.00
Reviewed by Mike Rimmer
Manchester's Ni-Cola first attracted my attention with live performances and then her single "Still Here" which was released awhile back. I'd been looking forward to a full album and finally, it is here upon us. It seems that UK gospel artists really struggle to get into a studio to record albums so Ni-Cola is to be given kudos for penning songs and getting them down. She's gifted with a great voice and a passion to communicate her faith and inspire her audience towards life change. Therefore these songs are designed to provoke thought and embrace faith. All good so far? You bet! The album kicks off with the catchy "Better Days" though immediately a weakness appears. Whilst vocally the track works fine, there is little movement with the backing track which seems to be stuck in its loop without really going anywhere. The edgy "Still Not Gonna Bow", good though it is, is another example of a song which continues on the same level without any variation musically. And this issue is repeated throughout which means that Ni-Cola is left with some room to improve the musical end of her recording with the next release. She just needs more dynamics within her songs to make them connect with an audience. One important song is "Passion For Purity" which conveys Ni-Cola's views on sexual purity. The track itself is powerful but it is preceded by a minute of chat about sexual purity to set it up and then followed with a further two minutes of women chatting on about sexual purity. I can understand the ministry intention but the fact is that the two talky bits on tracks two and four do not bear repeated listening and soon become a bit tedious because if you want solely music, you have to skip them when you get these women chatting on! Might have worked better if it had been at tracks eight or nine but it's too early in the album except for the first couple of times you hear it. One highlight for me is the dance remix of "Get Down" which closes the album and adds a bit of variety. I'm aware that I have thrown out a few negatives but overall, this is an effective debut album and it will deservedly help Ni-Cola establish herself on the UK gospel scene, but it isn't a killer. Hopefully that'll be the one that happens next time around when songs, singing and tracks will all fit together to make an even bigger impact.
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