Blue-in-Green:RADIO

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

'Predictions' by 79.5


Much has been made about the stunning debut outing from the New York City collective 79.5.  Their debut release on Big Crown Records had been a long time coming with their first single, 'Terrorize My Heart', unveiled as far back as 2016, but what the band have delivered here with 'Predictions' made every waiting minute blissfully worth it.

Headed up by singer/songwriter Kate Mattison and produced by Big Crown co-founder Leon Michels (of El Michels Affair and producer of Aloe Blacc's 'Good Things' amongst a slew of other projects), 'Predictions' flits effortlessly between styles and eras of soul music - the distinctly charming analog sound of Big Crown is prevalent throughout but there's also a strong element of contemporary "nu" soul permeating through as well.  So much so in fact that 'Terrorize My Heart' can also boast an additional remix from the production genius of  Detroit's Tall Black Guy that we'd urge you to pick up!

It's precisely this unpredictability of different sounds, styles and genres that Mattison & Co attempted to define the band at the outset - their name "79.5" is the dial of the fantasy radio station that was to serve as the melting pot for their own musical endeavours within soul, disco, house and jazz.

Mattison, who is having an excellent year thus far contributing vocals to new albums from Durand Jones & The Indications ('American Love Call') and Big Crown label-mate Lee Fields & The Expressions ('It Rains Love'), trades off great vocals with band mates Nya Parker Brown and Piya Malik who have really found the magic in their union, sounding incredible throughout the album but perhaps displaying their three-part harmonies to particular stunning effect on the latter half of 'Fireman'.  The band is comprised of a host of great musicians including Adrienne Hailey on bass, Izaak Mills on saxophone, flute and percussion, and Raymond McNaught on drums.  Michels himself guests on keys and percussion and Daptone Records drummer Homer Steinweiss (famed for his work with Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Mark Ronson and The Rongetz Foundation) also appears.

As mentioned, 'Terrorize My Heart' and 'Fireman' are early favourites but for an album also armed with tracks like 'Wavy', 'Facing East' and 'Boy Don't Be Afraid', picking out individual songs seems a waste of time for such a well-rounded and frankly perfect album.  Our only gripe is that we didn't discover this gem earlier!

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