The Brand New Heavies

Forward!

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Their first proper studio album in roughly seven years, Forward is more uptempo and disco-oriented than the slower and slightly funkier Get Used to It. N'Dea Davenport joins the band's core trio once more. While she's in front of only three of the songs, she makes her appearances count; "Sunlight," "Do You Remember," and "Addicted" recall late-'70s Rufus & Chaka Khan and are among the album's standouts. Newcomer Dawn Joseph also takes the lead on three songs. Though she holds her own with Davenport and other past BNH vocalists such as Siedah Garrett and Sy Smith, the material isn't quite as memorable. Founding member Jan Kincaid also fronts three songs, including the pristine "Heaven." From the prime Brit-funk instrumental "Forward" -- somewhere between Atmosfear's "Dancing in Outer Space" and Touchdown's "Ease Your Mind" -- to the laid-back, Average White Band-worthy "One More for the Road," Forward is a delightful return that focuses on the Heavies' love of smooth late-'70s/early-'80s sounds.

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