Reviewed by Phil Thomson
If the dream is to make it into the rarefied atmosphere of the leading female gospel groups, the Nevels Sisters, from Youngstown, Ohio, are seeing it pretty much come true. Staying there to earn that rather premature comparison with the Clark Sisters will be much more difficult. Yet in one relentless praise-fest, Veniece, Debra, Gail and April have set out their stall, opening in quite staggering precision with the mesmeric acapella "So You Feel". From then on, walls of perfect harmony argue crazily with the brass section and career around in support of some impressive vocal gymnastics in most of the up-beat songs, with the showcase signature song "Company" - written by brother Jnr Emmitt Nevels III - probably the best example. But then, slowed down, the faintly bluesy "God Can" cheekily weaves it's way into your bones and you'll find yourself gently swaying agreement. There are some clever tricks in the slower numbers too, with majestic arrangements and surprising musical juxtapositions which most certainly hold the attention. I'm not altogether sure about some of the embellishments, at the top of which is the vocoder. Its use tends to suggest a producer desperate to make timeless gospel sufficiently "urban" for today's marketplace. The title track more than demonstrates their ability to do the job without recourse to gimmicks. Which makes me also worry about the length of one or two tracks; "I Wanna Bless You" and "Unbelievable", you might say, go a little beyond their level of interest. I'm sure the MOLife label won't see that as a problem - you can't get too much of a good thing - and it has to be said, bouncing between frenetic synth-led brass and calming, mellow R&B surely puts paid to any hint of boredom. The press refer to their style as "highly decorated urban gospel" which sounds a bit too publicity-speak for comfort. Let's just say this is one of the few of its ilk which sounds as if the singers are also having a great deal of fun harmonising their way to God.
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