A Journey Too Far
Tru Thoughts Ltd.
Benedic Lamdin is certainly clever – and in and around his albums as Nostalgia 77 he’s had a hand in producing and/or playing alongside people like Jeb Loy Nichols, Alice Russell and Jamie Cullum. He used to play a nice line in that “cafe culture” sound, all air-brushed acid-jazz and bits of brass that equated to the jazz for people who don’t really listen to jazz, slight glimpses of trip-hop through the window of flattened soul. At its best it worked nicely enough – but was pretty much instantly forgettable – the simple melodies might have seemed sweet at the time, but nothing really stayed on after the record stopped.
It’s a bit the same with A Journey Too Far, the latest from Nostalgia 77 – but damn, it does sound good. You hear a track like Your Love Weighs A Tonne, and man it’s all there – the horns are bright but never too dominant, the voice is slick and soulful, but the interest in a type of reggae/roots to allegedly fatten/broaden the sound has only created songs like Don’t Run, the sort of fare UB40 would probably have left off any of their records. That’s your clue, by the way, you don’t need to hear those sorts of songs.
But for every dud there’s a slinky groove-thing like Ramshackle Rose – which is very nice. It still all feels like a guy so enamoured with his own record collection that he’s decided to make his own versions of the obscure album-tracks he is sure deserved a brighter future.
Medicine Chest bounces along on the same rhythmic loop as DLT and Che Fu’s Chains, and sounds like Fat Freddy’s pulling finger. But I don’t know…I’ve got enough Minnie Ripperton and Randy Crawford albums and records featuring The Crusaders and The Blackbyrds and the like. I’m really not sure I need this Matterhorn-approved slice of processed near-enough-to soul music. I’m happy enough while it’s on – but I just can’t ever imagine choosing it. I’d choose any of the things it wants to be first.