Review: Emotional Rescue again delves in the world of private pressings, with a reissue of British electronic pop meets proto-House duo 4AM. With copies of their self titled album now highly sought after, this timely reissue presents two of their songs as a stand alone 7".
Consisting of multi-instrumentalist Steve Kirby - piano, guitar, bass, programming - and vocalist Kevin Finch, 4AM came together after youths filled with a love of music. Following a string of band attempts, Steve dived in to the world of midi, allowing him to build a studio set up and play solo. A meeting with new work colleague Kevin quickly developed to joining forces to expand on his early demos.
Their melodic, dance-influenced pop draws on a love of Japan, OMD and The The, but also ECM jazz and a touch of "white boy soul". The TR-808 drum and hi-hats, string stabs and random acid squelches - although no TR-303 was used - highlights the influence the nascent House sounds emanating from the "second summer of love" of 1988 / 89 had in their music melting pot.
Over this, personal lyrics flow, full of honest emotions and a touch of youthful naivety thrown in - of relationships, love, sex and passions. Intended as a personal artifact, the original album was released in 1990 with no promotion or live shows and has taken until now, some 30 years, to find a cult audience. I want you with a Passion.
Review: Many disco-era modern soul collectors regard, Larom Baker's "You're The Best", which initially appeared in 1978 on an impossible to find, single-sided 7" single, as one of the style's genuine "Holy Grail" records. It's good news, then, that Athens Of The North has secured the rights to reissue it, releasing the full studio version (rather than the shorter edit that was released all those years ago) for the very first time. It's a genuine gem, with Baker's deliciously breezy West Coast soul vocal seemingly floating over a killer backing track rich in hazy horns, bustling slap bass and crunchy Clavinet lines. Turn to the flipside for the more disco-minded "Train Of Thought", one of a string of recently discovered Baker recordings that form the basis of a forthcoming album of previously unreleased tracks.
Review: DJ Soopasoul has previously breathed new life into tracks by Croatian producer Funky Destination, so it's little surprise to see him putting his spin on the Osijek-based artist's latest missive. He does a terrific job, offering up vocal and instrumental versions of "Come Back To Me" rich in long, tension-building intros, fuzzy funk horns, bass-heavy grooves, swirling orchestration and hard-wired guitar riffs. While the instrumental version is tidy, our pick of the pair is undoubtedly the A-side remix. We're not sure who the lead vocalist is, but her delivery is incredible. Don't sleep on this one!
Review: Mr Bongo's Brazil 45s series rarely misses a beat, with each successive seven-inch showcasing two more hard-to-find treats from the dim and distant past. The latest instalment opens with "Vou Morar No Teu Sorriso", a sought-after cut from Trio Tenura's eponymous 1971 MPB/soul fusion album. It's a genuinely summery treat, with ear-catching, reverb-heavy vocals and rising horn lines rising above a life-affirming backing track. On the flip you'll find "Quem Vai Querer", the title track from a superb 1977 album by Eliana Pittman. A breezy chunk of sizzling samba-soul, the cut features an impeccable lead vocal from Pittman and some sing-along group chorus vocals