23 April 2012
Review: Quantic & Alice Russell with The Combo Barbaro 'Look Around The Corner'
QUANTIC & ALICE RUSSELL WITH THE COMBO BARBARO
Look Around The Corner
I love the music of Will 'Quantic' Holland. I love the music of Alice Russell, too. I've been following them both for some time. Still the best-selling artists on the Tru Thoughts label, they were my (and probably many folks') introduction to the little Brighton-based label-that-could. Indeed, my love for both musicians runs so deep I was afraid my expectations of this album were too high, my hopes too great. And upon first listen, I didn't know what to think. However, it doesn't take long for the full charms of this fantastic record to reveal themselves. Recorded in Holland's adopted hometown of Cali, Colombia, during two visits from Russell, and utilising much of Holland's regular recording and touring band the Combo Barbaro, Look Around The Corner is (remarkably) the first album project Russell and Holland have worked on together. Like a great melting pot of the contributors' differing styles and blend of influences - blues, soul, gospel, an underlying Latin feel which is always present - the album has huge and varied appeal. Big string sections, memorable melodies, intoxicating percussion; the momentum barely lets up, the energy and enjoyment levels seldom dip. Russell is superb throughout, with her effortlessly powerful voice showing shimmering layers of subtlety. Special mention must be made of pianist Alfredito Linares and violinist Mike Simmonds (a regular Russell collaborator), both of whom seem to sprinkle gold dust over everything they touch (particularly on the outstanding instrumental track Una Tarde en Mariquita); while Holland's trademark warm production compliments the immaculate ensemble playing. Look Around The Corner is not only everything we could have hoped for from an Alice Russell/Quantic collaboration - deeply soulful, extremely funky and beautifully rendered - it is arguably the best work yet from either of these artists.
4 and 1/2 stars from 5
There are plenty of links to follow in the review above, but also check out the cover version of I'll Keep My Light In My Window below. Purchase your copy of the album on vinyl and/or on CD...
Quantic & Alice Russell with the Combo Bárbaro - I'll Keep My Light In My Window by Tru Thoughts