UK music collective Reel People, Oli Lazarus and Mike Petto, just released their fifth record today. It’s available on vinyl too! After a short intro, soul crooner Eric Roberson starts things off with a great, shuffling boogie monster on “Save A Lil Love”. I really dig the voice of Michael Champion, featured here on a brilliantly mellow “If I Was Your Man”, written by Raphael Saadiq and Stephen Simmonds. It’s a sort of neo-soul meets soul/r&b tune, perfectly executed and thrilling. Singer Chantae Cann is also on board. She has worked with Maysa, India.Arie, Kenny Lattimore, Moonchild, and lots more in the past and is coupled here with Dayne Jordan on “Dance In Her Eyes”. The midtempo groover is another exciting piece, graced by Chantae’s soothing vocals. It actually reminds me of some of Moonchild’s output from their most recent album. Unfortunately, the track is ruined by the rap part towards the end. Too bad.
Side one ends on a slightly house-induced trip with “Something New” featuring Muhsinah, the singer and producer from Washington, DC who also wrote the song. A pretty varied affair this is. Side two opens with singer Paula (Paula Champion) who has worked with Eric Roberson in the past. On “Fly”, the groove and keys hark back to the 80s and remind me of some of the tunes the band Kleeer put out circa mid 80s. Paula is featured with a second track, “Vibe”, showing her mellower and more vulnerable side on a beautiful midtempo stepper. Good to have Raheem DeVaughn back. He can be heard here on the subtle and super sexy “Deja Vu”. I also like the repetitive “Everything’s So Crazy” with Jill Rock Jones, another superb midtempo groove which glides along easily. The album ends with another rap piece by Speech. “I Never Knew” doesn’t really do it for me.