Review: Jack Foley
HAILING from the Manchester drum'n'bass scene, Un-Cut actually
sound better when rediscovering the essence of Motown and Northern
Soul - which is when lead singer, Jenna G, really gets to show
off her vocal range.
The Un-Calculated Some is the trio's eagerly-anticipated debut
album and showcases several musical styles - to varying degrees
Highpoints include the current single, Fallin', as well
as the former effort, Midnight, and the album, on the whole,
is a success, justifying Un-Cut's reputation as a UK act to watch.
It remains to be seen, however, whether they opt to pursue their
drum 'n' bass roots, or the soulful vibe that features them at
their most comfortable.
The album also marks a timely revival for the acid jazz sound,
which somehow always manages to sound fresh and exciting.
Certainly, there is plenty to admire here, with the positives
outweighing the negatives.
Firstly, and most importantly, however, is the arrival of Jenna
G, a truly soulful diva, whose vocal style harks back to the heady
days of Nina Simone (who she cites as an influence).
Tracks such as the Motown throwback, Fallin', really bring
out the best in her voice, and come perfectly complemented by
a laidback, Fugees-inspired beat; while you're almost guaranteed
to become lost in her voice during the chilled, Lost in Music
- with its breezy acoustic guitars and dreamy strings.
Likewise, track seven, Loveless, which finds Jenna at
her most open and vulnerable, as she contemplates the end of a
relationship, offering her soulmate solace in lyrics such as,
'you deserve a love like the love you give', and 'this aint about
you, it's about me'. It's a blisering track.
The quality continues, later on, with Obsession (Part II),
in which Jenna's seductive tones evoke memories of Morcheeba's
lead singer, set against a really great beat. It's difficult not
to fall in love with her, as she promises to love you forever.
The love affair does threaten to become strained, however, during
some of the faster moments. For, ironically, it is during the
drum 'n' bass interludes that the album falls down, somewhat.
Tracks such as Skin and Things U Do sound pretty
ordinary when compared to the album's highpoints and find you
longing for a return to the soul.
Fortunately, however, that's never far away... making Un-Cut
something worth getting excited about.
2. Skin 2 Skin
3. Things U Do
5. No Way
6. Lost In Music
8. Chinese Silk
9. Off Key Bass
10. Music is M
11. Obsession (Part 2)