Maktub formed as an effort to focus the best elements of a growing soul movement that had come to life in Seattle clubs. Subtle Ways, the group's first release, is a fine demonstration of the wide variety of styles that the group manages to fold into its jams. The first track, "Intuition," oscillates between reverb-laced choruses, electronica-influenced instrumental breakdowns, and falsetto verses. It is a promising pastiche, but the same elements reappear on too many other tracks in the album, from "Believe" to "Twilight." These compositional similarities between jams make Subtle Ways more of a mood piece than a fully realized album, but Watts' voice is strong enough in all registers to carry the listener's interest throughout. Despite its drawbacks, Subtle Ways received more than its share of positive regional and national attention and marked Maktub as a band to watch in the Northwest.
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AllMusic Review by Nathan Thornburgh