A certain reverence needs to be paid toward a group that can manage to still produce interesting, soulful music well into a third decade. Earth, Wind & Fire has endured practically everything a music group can experience and still remain true to the very essence of what made it popular. However, those expecting a knockout traditional Earth, Wind & Fire record will be slightly disappointed with The Promise. Though the magic of Philip Bailey and Maurice White's instantly recognizable vocals is still potent, there are a few things that Earth, Wind & Fire fanatics will immediately notice are different. The use of drum machines as opposed to a live drummer on the majority of the record takes some of the energy and magic out of the delivery, especially when revisiting classic moments of the group's career. Unnecessary interludes also serve more as distractions than interesting segues, and take away what little cohesiveness The Promise holds. Individually, the songs are still well-produced and hold up on their own -- and all would be considered suitable for a smooth jazz/adult R&B setting. Overall, The Promise still retains many of the qualities that endeared fans to Earth, Wind & Fire so many years ago -- it's extremely soulful and soothing, and the loyalists will eat this release up (especially with the renditions of older songs).
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AllMusic Review by Rob Theakston