Atlantic Starr

Legacy [Street Solid]

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Many of the soul/funk bands who emerged in the '70s broke up in the '80s, but Atlantic Starr was still plugging away when the 21st century arrived. Released in 1999, Legacy is the work of a band who is past their prime; Atlantic Starr reached their creative peak in the early '80s. But while Legacy isn't in a class with five-star Sharon Bryant-era treasures like 1981's Radiance and 1982's Brilliance, it is a decent, satisfying effort; arguably, Legacy is the band's most consistent release since their A&M period. Atlantic Starr has, over the years, experienced more than their share of personnel changes; in 1999, their lineup included original members Wayne and Jonathan Lewis as well as DeWayne Woods and Rachel Oliver (both of whom share lead vocals with the Lewis brothers). Woods and Oliver are both expressive, capable singers, and despite Atlantic Starr's many personnel changes, they are still distinctive and recognizable. Legacy, in fact, is quite faithful to the band's history; this is true on sentimental ballads (which include "I've Fallen in Love" and "Mary") as well as an up-tempo funk workout like "Reach Higher." Some listeners will argue that Legacy sounds dated; this CD sounds like it could have been recorded in the '80s. But dated isn't necessarily a bad thing if you hold a particular era in high regard, and those who know Atlantic Starr for '80s hits like "When Love Calls," "Circles," and "Touch a Four-Leaf Clover" will probably be glad that Legacy is as '80s-sounding as it is. Although Legacy isn't essential and casual listeners would be better off with a collection of Atlantic Starr's classic A&M hits, this is a respectable CD that die-hard fans should be aware of.

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