Wednesday, 14 November 2012

ALBUM(S) OF THE WEEK: Richie Spice and Gyptian offer good vibrations on terrific new releases

IN THE GROOVE: While listening to Gyptian’s eclectic six-track EP, SLR, I found myself returning to track number three. Steeped in sly seductiveness, “One More Time” recalls the soul-stirring appeal of 2003’s “I Can Feel Your Pain,” a bonafide smash that helped make Gyptian a breakout star. As for the new release, a precursor to his next full-length studio album (due next year), it allows him to reveal a highly commendable gift for crafting tracks that skillfully tread the line between vintage dancehall and soulful reggae-R&B. On winners like the old-school sampling “Number One” and the yearning “Royal Love,” for instance, he proves a sensitive storyteller who doesn’t shy away from taking on matters of the heart. Tyrone’s Verdict: B+ 

ACOUSTIC SOUL: Wonderfully crafted and full of lingering melodies, Richie Spice’s latest, Soothing Sounds, wins you over with its arsenal of earnest, universal messages of hope and humanity – even as it effortlessly eases you into a reflective and blissed-out state of mind. An added bonus? It’s wonderful to hear some of Spice’s most popular hits given the stripped-down, acoustic treatment. “Trulove,” “My Girl” and “Crying” are moving selections that find the rootsy star in compelling form as both writer and vocalist. He’s at his best, though, on “Free,” a repeat-worthy tour-de-force that’s as haunting and hopeful as it is powerful and deeply heartfelt. Tyrone’s Verdict: A-

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