This Atlanta-based ensemble's laid-back, progressive R&B/funk/soul vibe takes you back to the early-'90s sounds of groups like Soul II Soul, Brand New Heavies, and Sade, with grooves that make you wanna dance even as Lisa Terry's lusciously sensual voice makes you wanna kick back with the lights off and the headphones on. "Like Breathing" is about as sexy as soul can get, with Okore Johnson's droning cello well-matched by a lackadaisical beat that sets the perfect rhythm for getting your horizontal groove on, before Kembo Tom stops in around the five-minute mark to drop an unexpected rhyme. If there's any complaint to be made about Venus & Mars, it's that Seek seems stuck in a midtempo mire, so if you don't like one song, chances are you won't like the rest of 'em much better. The heavenly "Lucipher's Wings" seems eager to break into a rollicking drum'n'bass rhythm, but the band's constant restraint keeps the tension from boiling over. Only on two highly effective interludes -- the funky "Aimes la Vie" and the fiery, conga-laden "En Mi Vida" -- do they break from form, and those two tunes are almost mercilessly short. The last tune, "Ask Yourself," is arguably the album's best -- a dose of Latin-flavored funk sure to get listeners hyped. Overall, Venus & Mars is a fine debut, but now that Seek has defined its sound, it'll be interesting to see how they expand on it with more dynamic contributions in the future.
Venus & Mars Review
by Bret Love
|2||Seek feat: Khari Cabral Simmons||05:22||Amazon|