Singing Melody

Expression

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The sophomore album by Singing Melody (aka Everton Hardware) has both its share of musical high points and disastrous lows. On Expressions, the artist combines mature pop, R&B, gospel, and even CCM along with traditional reggae and dancehall signatures. However, SM is at his best when he sticks with the straight-ahead reggae/dancehall, as in the case of the '50s/'60s soul-styled "Say What"; the sparse bass and horns track (provided by legend Bobby "Digital" Dixon) complements the vocalist's distinct, rangy falsetto and the results are pure reggae magic. SM scores again on the one-drop "I Wanna Know" and the darker "Lived My Life," featuring accompaniment from journeyman Beres Hammond and the DJing of Tony Rebel. The album slows down almost to a grinding halt after the poorly chosen "I Believe," an awful affirmation-type song that comes off sounding like a mix between a Jack Wagner ballad and a United Way commercial. While the sentiment in this song may be heartfelt, the more polished "All About You" does more justice to the genre it attempts to borrow from (gospel). The album also lacks focus, as gospel-tinged tracks are bookended by quiet storm offerings and even borderline slack joints (such as "Girlfriend," featuring seasoned DJ Frisco Kid). Despite some of the vocal arrangement and selection hiccups, the production of Collin "Bulby" York and Lynford "Fatta" Marshall (with assists from such tried and true studio heads as Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare) is invariably inspired. Genre overlap is an inevitable reality of 21st century music, but such a gifted singer as Singing Melody is better off sticking with what he knows best.

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