STYLE: R&B RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 49631-14658 LABEL: Xist TYS9841732 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1 RELEASE DATE: 2009-01-30 RRP: £12.99
Reviewed by Alastair McCollum
Toronto-born, Atlanta-based singer/songwriter Simmonds' second solo release has a gritty, hard edged feel alongside the heavy bass and drum-come-smooth urban R&B vibe. Simmonds isn't afraid to tackle difficult subjects such as domestic abuse ("Unheard Cries"), the need to cling to God in all circumstances ("God Is Real") and the challenge of following Christ on the mellow, Psalm flavoured (or should that be flava'd?) "Don't Leave". This is not an innovative album, but one of solid, bass-backed, synth-led tunes of the kind that wouldn't be out of place pumping through very large speakers in the back of a "pimped" car. The only surprise is the sampled horn opening of the first track which sounds very much like the opening to the Austin Powers theme tune! Musically adept, with an eye for a rhyme and an ear for a catchy riff, Simmonds has a soulful voice which slips easily into a powerful falsetto and holds your attention throughout this selection of tunes. Favourites alongside those already mentioned are the upbeat, funky rapping of "U Did It" and the gentle hip-hop retelling of the nativity story in the soulful "Mary's Baby". There's not a track out of place in this selection, well produced, well presented and consistently powerful both in terms of lyrics and music.
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