The Sweetest Escape
Big A.C. Records
Modernist Soul for Style Councillors Everywhere.
A couple of years back I booked a cheap round trip to the States and ended up with a delay that merited a 27 hour layover in Philadelphia airport on my return.
They had a compilation of Philly soul on heavy rotation 24/7 which gives the place a chilled, summery feel – and everyone there is real nice to you – that’s the same cool groove that I get from this, Nick Corbin; formally of Acid Jazz Groovesters New Street Adventure’s debut effort; the whole feel is of warm days, 70’s Soul and city life.
“Sunshine In” and “Don’t Break the Mould” fit this relaxed feel well, but add some carefully chosen dynamics with featured flute and brass instrumentation too.
Earlier tracks “Long Long Gone” and “Can We Do It Again” carry signs of Blue Eyed British Soul with some slight but telling musical nods on the former to some Madness rhythms and the latter with Ian Duryesque bass-led funk, which I like a lot.
Vocally, Nick Corbin very clearly has a distinct London twang and this is used to best effect on the opener “The Sweetest Escape” and “Never Did Look Like Love” where the juxtaposition of sweeter backing and down to earth vocal creates something greater than the sum of the parts.
Lyrically, “Thought it Through” which name-checks Anthony Joshua and “I Need Reminding” with its “I’m one step short of confident” line stands out in terms of lyrical voice – “It’s Alright to Change Your Mind” steals a famous riff and changes its instrument while commenting on the evils of social media and all three go more strongly beyond the pleasant , catchy MOR-ish Style Council type soul of “Gotta Get Back To You” and “Can’t Say Goodbye”. Overall, an album where Nick Corbin is finding his voice – clearly a respectful, knowledgeable fan of Soul Music and able to write a good tune, the highlights for me are where he steps beyond his most obvious influences and things then shift up a gear – the Mod and Scooter crowd will love this album and Corbin’s future could be very bright indeed with the right exposure.
Review by Nick Barber Esq.
Released 12th June 2020