Wednesday 23 February 2022

'Put Your Hands Up' by Randa & The Soul Kingdom

'Put Your Hands Up' marks the third full-length album release from Randa & The Soul Kingdom.

Randa Khamis and company initially burst onto the scene in 2009 amidst a riveting funk and soul revival that has since seen the rise of so many Australian artists and bands including Cookin on 3 Burners, Dojo Cuts, Emma Donovan & The Putbacks, Mayfield, The Bamboos and so many more.  Already a seasoned performer by her 20s, Khamis had shared stages with the UK's Speedometer, toured alongside Eddie Bo and opened for world class acts including Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings and Lionel Richie.

Having found its home on the UK's revered Freestyle Records, the self-titled debut release by Randa & The Soul Kingdom presented the archetypal feel-good, blazing funk and soul synonymous with the genre's trailblazers.  Specifically targeting the dance floor, explosive and high-energy numbers like 'Feel It In Your Soul', 'Getting Down To It' and the show stealer 'Lysistrata's Quest' were brought to life by marquis names including guitarist and producer Lance Ferguson (The Bamboos, Menagerie) and drummer Ivan Khatchoyan (Cookin on 3 Burners, The Traffic) amongst other awesome collaborators... and with Randa Khamis taking centre stage, the end-result delivered something of a cult classic that still holds up as a treasure thirteen years later.

With the third album now being introduced to eager listeners, this is actually a project that has been awaiting its audience for some time.  With the world's ever-changing landscape in the last few years which has ushered in the era of face masks, social distancing, excessive amounts of hand sanitizer, home schooling and Zoom-based interactions, what time would be the right time when considering releasing a new project amidst such extraordinary circumstances?!

But fast-forward to February 2022, and 'Put Your Hands Up' finally sees the light of the day.  For this record, the collective present a project that's more ambitious in its scope and broader within its musical palette.  The album opener 'Gonna Get Love' introduces exciting new concepts into Randa's music plunging her awesome vocal somewhere between classic rhythm 'n' blues and 60s psychedelic soul.  More familiar Randa fare can be found in the fiery Northern Soul stomper 'Is This I' and the disco-esque groove of the album's title track while '2048' serves as an inspirational and timely call-to-arms in light of increasing environmental risks.  While much of the group's music has always found its home in the joy of celebrating that feel-good energy, 'Find A Good Man' soars as the album's exquisite ballad - a style listeners haven't often been exposed to with Khamis tracks previously - delivering another of the album's many highlights.

'Put Your Hands Up' is an album long in the works and although it may have taken a while to make its ways to listeners, the wait has been worth it as we now have an album that builds wonderfully upon the awesome Randa & The Soul Kingdom legacy as established thirteen years ago.

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