Gold of My Own ‘Mondo Romance’ (Fish Legs) 3/5

gold-of-my-ownGold of My Own are a relatively new soul based outfit, comprising of musician and producer Chris Pedley (previously of The Baker Brothers), and vocalist Vanessa Freeman – with Vanessa providing vocals to some previous Baker Brothers’ material. But with this release, rather than creating a straight ahead soul/funk album, Gold of My Own have incorporated other influences as it does possess a slightly leftfield quality but still maintaining a strong soul and funk foundation. Apparently, this collaboration began much earlier in both their respective careers but was shelved due to other musical commitments.
The album itself comprises of eight vocal based tracks and four additional instrumentals, with both Chris and Vanessa writing the album. Unsurprisingly, it does have a certain ‘London’ sound and attitude that you probably would expect, with touches of broken beat, D&B and dare I say it, acid jazz influences a la Brand New Heavies. I enjoyed the rawness of some of the songs which keep the album contemporary, including the head nodding ‘Words Are Not Enough’, the bouncy ‘Welcome To My World’ and ‘Forever Love’ with its chopped up, creaky piano sample and staccato drum rhythms. I actually would have liked the featured instrumentals to be full vocal tracks, as they would have provided some interesting platforms for Vanessa, with ‘All Came Good’ and ‘We Are One’ both having a certain cinematic quality to them.

As one would expect, Vanessa’s vocals are impeccable, and being a fan of Vanessa’s work since the early 2000s with Reel People, Phil Asher and her many features and collaborations, having an album like this was always going to be enjoyable. Perhaps with the band performing around the UK and with the album also released in Japan, GOMO could develop into a solid live act as the musicianship is strong and the songs are performance and dance floor friendly. Nonetheless, the current climate for UK-based soul and funk bands is probably not at its highest – although its influence is far reaching. But maybe Gold of My Own with their slightly different approach to the soul genre with their use of jazz samples, drum programming and interesting arrangements, could develop into an interesting addition to the soul/funk canon. We shall wait and see.

Damian Wilkes