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Naturally 7 - Ready II Fly

Naturally 7, Ready II Fly

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2.5 out of 5

NATURALLY 7 are seven guys from New York City (although two members, Roger and Warren Thomas, were born in Manchester, England) may look like a hip-hop outfit but their music transcends genres.

They have created name for themselves by using their vocals as instruments, in a form dubbed VocalPlay. As such, their entire sound – from the rhythms, beats, bass and keyboard to the up-beat soul vocals – are all produced by nothing more than their very versatile voices. And their repertoire takes in everything from Jazz, gospel, hip-hop, funk and pop.

They are: Roger (1st Baritone / Rap); Warren (Percussion / 3rd Tenor); Dwight (2nd Baritone); Armand (Bass); Rod (1st Tenor / Scratching); Jamal (4th Tenor) and Garfield (2nd Tenor).

Only recently, they were the surprise support acts of Michael Buble and generally succeed in generating standing ovations whenever they appear live. One suspects that to truly appreciate their talent, seeing them live is the best option.

In album form, it’s very easy to forget that all of the sounds are vocally manufactured. And, I suppose, it’s a tribute to their skills. But they don’t always help themselves by dropping songs that are, at best, generic to the mediums they represent. A lot of their songs lack anything to really make them stand out, so that if you’re not actually watching them, it’s easy to forget the work going on behind-the-scenes to create the sounds.

They’re at their best when emphasising their vocals, such as on tracks like Tradition or Can Ya Feel It?, or even on their pretty decent cover versions of the Phil Collins classic Feel It (In The Air Tonight) and Motown’s What I’m Lookin 4 (Ain’t No Mountain High Enough. But a lot of the 18 tracks on this long-player blend into one and conform to smooth groove, R’n‘B tinged pop.

Hell, some of it even sounds over-produced. Maybe it’s better just to stick to the live performances…

Download picks: Can Ya Feel It?, Tradition, Feel It (In The Air Tonight)

Track listing:

  1. Can Ya Feel It
  2. Open Your Eyes
  3. Feel It (In The Air Tonight)
  4. Harder Than That
  5. How Could It Be
  6. Forever For You
  7. Cool
  8. Never
  9. I Can’t Doo Dat
  10. 4Life
  11. Tradition
  12. Fly Baby
  13. Let It Rain
  14. What I’m Lookin’ 4 (Ain’t No Mountain High Enough)
  15. New York
  16. Comfort You
  17. Close2Me
  18. True Friends (And Family)