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Into the Depths

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Album Review

This second solo album by the first name behind Rae & Christian's acid jazz standard Northern Sulfuric Soul significantly steps up the production quality compared to the seminal 1998 release (no doubt a due to a mixture of experience and advanced recording techniques). Yet for the crispness of sound and near-perfect replication of classic soul styles, this disc falls significantly short of the previous classic. That is not to say there aren't moments well worth consideration. The opening "Mind, Body and Soul" pleasantly mixes soulful toasting with great synthesizer and vibraphone lines. It is this one cut, along with the Veba-led "Without You Now" and "Reach Out to Me" that will do extremely well in the remix division. Which adds to the curiosity of selecting "Depth Charge" as the first single, as it seems under-realized as a song ("Mind, Body and Soul" made the flip side). But pondering release schedules will be the least of your concerns upon hearing "Medicine," a cheesy corner strut that sounds like a '70s soul skit from Sesame Street, and "Rise Up," which steals it's overbearing synth tone from one of the all-time great musical masochists, Europe. Expertly done, with strumming guitars and computerized horns, Into the Depths does well when it doesn't try too hard. But when it leans back too far, the chair of good taste easily topples.

Into the Depths, Mark Rae
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