Solade is an Oberlin-trained, New York-based singer and trumpet player named Andrea Lindborg, working in collaboration with producer and multi-instrumentalist Francis Mbappe to create a vaguely Afro-Cuban-influenced take on jazz-pop that resembles no one so much as the mid-'80s crew of British artists who were doing much the same thing: Sade, Carmel, the Young Marble Giants spin-off Weekend, early Everything But the Girl, Pigbag, Basia, and so on. This is not a bad thing, since all of those bands had their charms. So does Solade, but to a lesser degree: Lindborg has a flirty, breathy singing voice that's charming, but thin and unfortunately limited. (It's difficult to gauge the quality of her trumpet playing, which tends to be restricted to a vaguely Chet Baker-like muted measure here and there, more decoration than an intrinsic part of the songs.) Of course, much the same could be said about most of the bands listed above (was there a weedier singer in the '80s than Weekend's Alison Statton?), but Solade's real weakness is in Mbappe's musical settings. The songs blend bossa nova-style acoustic guitars, Latin percussion, rubbery fretless basslines, and synthesizers in an appealing way, but they're mostly a collection of swell arrangements in search of some decent melodies to hang themselves upon. Boro Song has many of the elements to be a great piece of lightweight, frothy sophisti-pop, and if Lindborg and Mbappe improve their songwriting skills, their next one might achieve that goal.
Boro Song Review
by Stewart Mason