Reel People

Second Guess

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British dance-pop trio Reel People's full-length debut is a throwback to the mid-'90s heyday of acid jazz, particularly the Brand New Heavies. Like that collective, the focus on Second Guess is on '70s-style smooth jazz grooves in the Steely Dan or Blackbyrds mode, the chorused guitars, rubbery fretless bass, and electric piano lines updated with crisp electronic beats. (Opening track "The Rain" in particular is a full-on tribute to the mellow side of '70s fusion.) And singers Vanessa Freeman and Dyanna Fearon slot neatly into the soul diva roles that Siedah Garrett and N'Dea Davenport filled in the Brand New Heavies, providing the songs with a dramatic focal point. The main difference is that there's little discernible hip-hop influence in these sleek R&B grooves, except on "Steppin'," featuring a guest appearance by American rapper Dynas, and even that song is built on a woody-sounding standup bass and clavinet. Elsewhere, soul and dance-pop are the order of the day, with the single "Can't Stop" a particularly intoxicating high point.

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