This New York City-bred foursome is Brand New Heavies meets Rufus crossed with Mint Condition and Family Stand.

This New York City-bred foursome is Brand New Heavies meets Rufus crossed with Mint Condition and Family Stand. While this may sound like too much hype for one quartet to live up to, vocalist/drummer Christian "Cooly" Urich, vocalist/keyboardist Angela Johnson, keyboardist Victor Axelrod, and percussionist Ernesto Abreu are no ordinary band. Already winning converts in the U.K. (the album is in release there via Dome), this tight soul band traverses effortlessly from dance to midtempos and ballads while creatively melding jazz, funk, R&B, classical, Afro-Cuban, and reggae rhythms. Between the foursome's raw, spirited playing and Johnson and Urich's assured yet distinctive vocals, there's no filler in this member-penned collection. Besides lead single "Make Me Happy," choice cuts include "Happy Feelings" and "Over & Over." Finally, a real soul band that gives it to you straight, no chaser.—GM

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