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Solange Is The Move

Sometimes famous siblings work against you. Destiny’s child was my impression of an also ran TLC without a true auteur to steer them the way Dallas Austin steered TLC. Not bad mind, but not as good as everybody else thought. As a solo artist I feel Beyonce Knowles lacks consistency, sure “Single Ladies ( Put A Ring On it)” was a great song, so was “If I Was A Boy” but I Am was not a great album,it was yet another over reach.

And I checked out Kelly Rowland as well and I liked her fine whether being exactly thrilled.

So when it came to Solange Knowles – Beyonces little sister, I got the single off So-Angel And the Hadley, “Sandcastle Disco” and liked it find, vocals a little been there, done that, but a nice Motowny feel and very rocky drums: more four on the floor than you’d expect.

The drums shoulda been the give away. Solange was a bit like Kid Cudi in this way: she was positioning herself between soul and modern rock music. I wouldn’t have been so surprised about her cover of “Silence Is The Move” if I’d heard the entire album.The Dirty Projectors in one of the best songs of the year, in its persons the strands of hip hop and R&B on the one hand and dance and indie rock on the other, meet in the middle. There is something very rewarding about a soul singing out of the idiom. If you listen to Ray Charles Modern Sounds Of Country And Western you’ll see what I mean. It takes nothing away from Hank Williams to state that Charles gave these songs an emotional reach and cosmopolitan twang that lifts the songs, great as they may be, from genre exercises to great American song book status. In a similar way, the Dirty Projectors should be the first to face up the artistic inclinations of the band, to their disinterest in a more mainstream, less ghettoized, sound. Solange mainstreams em. Just like the Byrds did for Dylan.

But Solange would. At twenty-three years of age, and in the business since she was fifteen years, all the way through Sol-Angel she is balancing between rock and soul though landing firmly on the soul sound. The only out and out disaster on the album is “Cosmic Journey” with Bilal, an overreach somewhere between Kelis and a cough drop. But “God Given Known”, “T.O.N.Y”, “Ode TO Marvin” (yep, and it works), “Sandcastle Disco” -they all sound like disco played by a rock band, all sound like a symbiosis of sound.

Still it doesn’t quite work. It is good stuff but falls onto the essentially ordinary side. The songs aren’t there. The voice is good but nothing special. None of that applies to “Stillness Is The Move” which does what Solange might be trying to do, put her artistic temperament to work for a sound break through. Sol-Angel dates from 2008. I wonder what her next album will find.

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