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From the Heart: The Very Best of Another Level

Another Level

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Album Review

Alongside Damage, four-piece vocal group Another Level were the only '90s U.K. boy band who successfully managed to emulate the slick R&B of U.S. acts like Jodeci and Dru Hill. A more edgy, credible, and soulful alternative to the teeny bopper likes of A1, Five, and Westlife, their career may have been rather short-lived, (just over 18 months passed between their debut and their swan song singles), but as this 15-track compilation shows, their impressive run of hits has stood the test of time far more than their contemporaries. Very Best of Another Level takes five tracks apiece from their 1998 self-titled debut, and 1999 follow-up Nexus, plus one B-side (a faithful rendition of Simply Red's "Holding Back the Years"), four remixes of their biggest hits from the likes of Frankie Knuckles and Full Intention, and a live acoustic performance of album track "I Can See You in My Mind." Their only chart-topper, "Freak Me," a seductive cover version of Silk's 1993 U.S. hit, remains their signature tune, but they were just as capable of producing addictive, smooth urban pop with their own material. "Guess I Was a Fool" is an authentic stab at brass-infused Motown which showcases the underrated vocals of Dane Bowers, often overlooked by his various tabloid-baiting activities; "My Girl" is a harmonious slice of acoustic-driven soul reminiscent of Boyz II Men; while even nonsensical lyrics like "jello jello, goody chocolate puddy" can't detract from the infectious guitar licks and two-step garage-lite rhythms of their final release, "Bomb Diggy." Consolidating their street credentials, the group were also joined by a host of respected U.S. hip-hop artists on perhaps their three best tracks. Wu-Tang Clan's Ghostface Killah lends his spitfire MC skills to the twinkling keys and brooding synth basslines of "I Want You for Myself," cruelly denied the number one spot by cheesy boy band 911, West Coast vocalist TQ provides a streetwise edge to the chilled-out vibes of "Summertime," while prolific rap legend Jay-Z makes a surprising appearance on the gorgeous melancholic R&B of "Be Alone No More." The Next covers and Stevie Wonder collaborations of Blue may have stolen their thunder two years later, but Very Best proves that Another Level were the classier act. ~ Jon O'Brien, Rovi

Biography

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '90s

The British R&B quartet Another Level consists of Bobak Kianoush, Mark Baron, Dane Bowers and Wayne Williams. Thanks to UK hit singles like "Freak Me" and "Guess I Was a Fool," the group earned an opening gig on Janet Jackson's 1998 European tour. Later that year...
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From the Heart: The Very Best of Another Level, Another Level
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