Aurra

Anthology [1995]

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Aurra's double-disc Anthology is an extensive way of distilling the group's output -- which encompasses five albums -- into singles and strong non-single material. The Slave offshoot, featuring co-ed vocals from Starleana Young and Curtis Jones, only cracked the Top Ten of the black singles chart once ("Make up Your Mind," number six), it was a constant presence in the lower rungs of the charts from 1980 to 1982. Stylistically, the bulk of this material can be classified as post-disco and pre-house. There is club appeal in most everything the group recorded, with programming of drum machines and synthesizers often playing a greater role than live instrumentation. Unless you carried a technology phobia, the era during which Aurra recorded was an extremely exciting time, with brilliant extensions of '70s soul and disco music shooting across radio airwaves in several countries. Aurra helped bring Salsoul, a label known for its sweeping string arrangements and big sounds during the '70s, into the '80s with a bright sound that was just as melodic and frequently just as deeply emotional. No highlight from Aurra's most prolific period is left behind here. "Are You Single," "Checking You Out," "Make up Your Mind," "A Little Love," and "In the Mood" are all here. Actually, there are too many inclusions; the essential material could be condensed into one disc. Until that definitive single-disc compilation rolls around, this will have to do.

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