Ms. Irene Renee ‘Ubiquitous Soul’ CD/DIG (D.A.P.) 4/5

The laser flicker has been working overtime on this modern long player since it landed, and in places it really is superb. Let’s go straight to the real meat then. “Court of Love” is worth the price of the album alone, think Ursula Ricks’ “Sweet Tenderness” and your bang on point, with regular club plays this is destined for anthem status and could quite easily take over Soul Radio, 2 step strolling at its heavenly best. Dropping the pace with “Unpredictable” perfect for an RnB rub then watch it fly. Lovely interaction between the lead and the male harmonies. The meandering “Runnin” is a sunny Sunday afternoon play, it’s the type of tune the wonderful Regina Bell would have embraced, which really showcases Ms. Renee’s voice, so much space in the mix to fill with this superb voice. I’ve also fallen for the toe-tapper, “Shinin Bright”, which when turned up loud impresses greatly. The sound is synth dominated and bassy but all done with class, you know me – synths don’t exactly get me going, but there are the occasional exceptions.

“I’d Rather” offers up a different sound, slight jazz influences, and the rim of the skins being the percussion you hear the most, this is a real grower with subtle muted horns popping up, the pace picks up slightly and the whole tune morphs into a very classy dancer.“Smile” carries on that subtle groove and offers up a classy head-nodder.

The rest of the album hits the spot in places, a couple of interludes waste time and space but that’s a small price to pay. An excellent album and I’ve no doubt she will be back with another. Born in Detroit and having been dubbed the ‘Princess of Soul’ now residing in New York, she’s been likened to an array of established names in the soul/RnB world, when I listen to this album I don’t here anyone else in her voice which in 2017 is a very good thing, drop the comparisons girl and just do your stuff; you are good enough. Available in both digital download and a physical cd at various on-line outlets.

Brian Goucher