Soul Basement ‘Oneness’ CD (Moosicus) 4/5

This landed on the doormat along with 9 other albums, two of which I had been waiting several months for as they were small label private runs, both coming back into stock within a week of each other, so sadly I put this one further down the pile than it should have been because this a fabulous modern soul album, Italian born Fabio Puglisi and Jay Nemor have been likened to Gil Scott-Heron and Lou Rawls and I can understand why too, for me it’s like listening to the genius that is Cunnie Williams, these guys really are bang on with a sound that has strong Jazz influences with hints of seventies soul, eighties boogie and funk and we have spoken word too. Heavy bass, muted percussion, tinkling piano, Sax and Trombone create that essential sound. As always, I’ll go straight to the meat on here in the name of “Count On Me”, which begins like many 70s mid tempo tunes do, muted percussion, joined by horns, all very restrained then in comes that voice and we have a sing a long chorus to boot, a sax caresses the drums and bass beautifully, this head nodding chugger will be massive given the right radio exposure, I know Mark Merry at Starpoint will jump all over this and quite rightly, but what about Solar, Stomp and 365? when they hear this I’m sure they will be all over it. A soul anthem in the making and it doesn’t stop there folks. Get a load of the opener “Better Das”, and it really does set the standard for the rest of the album, a lovely stroller for which I really did think was Cunnie Williams. The more urgent “Love to the People”, is another essential spin, with a subtle guitar bubbling away in the back ground, muted backing singers, a real grower, dropping the pace to the percussion and piano led “Slowly”, a simple tune in its execution but infectious nonetheless. And for more of a delight try “Hang On In There”. There are several spoken word tracks on here too but they all have something interesting to say and fit perfectly within this setting.

Gregory Porter came from nowhere and became the darling of the masses only to blow it totally by selling out with that Nat King Cole cash cow. These guys could and should be the next big thing, let’s hope so, I know one thing though they won’t be selling out any time soon. A memorable album with some fine moments, and somewhat essential if you’re a soul fan. Also search out their ‘What We Leave Behind‘.

Brian Goucher