Atlantic Starr

Radiant

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    9
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Both creatively and commercially, Radiant was a major step forward for Atlantic Starr -- and the person they can thank is James Carmichael. This 1981 release was the first album that Carmichael produced for the band, whose two previous LPs (Atlantic Starr in 1978 and Straight to the Point in 1979) were decent but not great. Atlantic Starr needed to get to the next level, and Carmichael obviously gave the White Plains, NY, combo the sort of guidance, direction, and constructive criticism it needed to make the transition from decent to excellent. Radiant gets off to an impressive start with the haunting single "When Love Calls," and the material that follows is equally strong. That is true whether Atlantic Starr is getting into sentimental soul ballads ("Am I Dreaming," "Send for Me") or tough, gritty funk ("Think About That," "Under Pressure"). One of the band's greatest assets on this LP is lead singer Sharon Bryant; Carmichael brings out the best in her, and she really soars on "When Love Calls," as well as "My Turn Now" and the hit "Am I Dreaming" (a male/female duet with fellow lead singer David Lewis). But Bryant isn't the only lead vocalist who excels on this record. David and Wayne Lewis are also fine singers; "Send for Me," in fact, boasts one of Wayne's most memorable performances. And once again, Carmichael deserves much of the credit -- he pushed the Lewis Brothers to excel just as he pushed Bryant to excel. With Carmichael's help, Radiant went down in history as one Atlantic Starr's finest and most essential albums.

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