Singing "songstress" Marsha Ambrosius and spoken-word "floacist" Natalie Stewart have concocted a smooth, sultry, and soulful album with the help of producers Darren "Limitless" Henson, Keith "Keshon" Pelzer, Vidal Davis, Ivan "Orthodox" Barias, and Andre "Dirty" Harris, whose combined credentials include Bilal and Jill Scott. The album includes some faster hip-hop tracks such as "Opera," but it tends toward mid-tempo grooves and slow jams with an warm, after-dark chill-out feel. The music is classy and sleek, not raucous or abrasive, and Stewart even says to "turn the music down" during "Headache." The duo may sing about bringing the vibe "from SC5 to Philly's Westside" ("Floetic"), but they also dwell a lot on personal heartache; sample lyrics include "I cry oceans" ("Headache") and "so much pain and misery" ("If I Were a Bird"), and even "Fun" is hooked around the phrase "this isn't my idea of fun." Ambrosius and Stewart are both adept at their respective vocal techniques, but their main strength is the interplay between their two voices; this interplay, like the album in general, is a good demonstration of how contrasting styles can be brought together to form an appealing whole. This CD includes two bonus tracks: the demo version of "Butterflies" (which was a hit when performed by Michael Jackson) and a collaboration with Sebastian Rogers on "Now You're Gone (More Than I Can Feel)."
by Todd Kristel