In the Heat of the Night

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Imagination's most substantial moments lie in this seamless sophomore effort. The formula is close to that of 1981's Body Talk: Lee John's angelic and serene falsetto surrounded by Ashley Ingram's voluptuous tenor vocals and darkly textured keyboard riffs and Errol Kennedy's steady, subtle, funky backbeat. Yet the tempo is varied a bit more with the onset of three ballads and some slightly more aggressive up-tempo tracks. Four singles were released to success in the U.K., with three crossing over to U.S. shores: the groovy, underground dance number "Changes" (R&B number 46) with a contagious chorus and nabbing percussion breakdown pattern used throughout the tune; the equally insidious "Just an Illusion" (R&B number 27); the moody title track; and "Music and Lights" (R&B number 52). In addition to these treats, the elegant slow-groover "All Night Loving" and the disco-influenced "Heart 'N' Soul," a softly splashy early house effort (check the colorful keyboard solo) that segues into "Music and Lights" are particularly notable. Interestingly, Kennedy stopped his involvement with writing on this set, but John and Ingram continued these duties, along with producers Tony Swain and Steve Jolley.

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