(5 / 5)
Love, love, love this album. Breath of fresh air from talented UK DJ, producer and multi-instrumentalist Flevans, aka Nigel Evans.
These 11 choice cuts sling into the melting pot a slew of genres from funk, soul, disco, house, quirky pop and more, to dish up one of the best British dance albums of 2020 thus far.
Brighton-based Flevan’s sixth studio album, “Accumulate” is the follow-up to 2019’s “Part Time Millionaire”.
The title derived from the repeated mantra of ‘speculate to accumulate’ (which loosely translates as roll the dice, have a gamble) that kept cropping up during an in-depth recording process for the album.
The (mostly) instrumental opener “Moving On”, is a tasty slice of nu-soul sat on an almost drum ‘n’ bass groove, and nice chunky, grunged-up electric piano. Laura Vane belts out the title towards the end of the track. Good start.
Having worked with Cee Lo Green, MJ Cole and others, Laura’s powerful soul voice is front and centre on the second cut, the infectious “Hold Your Hands Up”, which harks back to 70s and 80s soul sounds. Penned by Laura and Nigel.
Scooby Jones takes the mic’ for the soulful “Ambition Like Cream”, a commercial radio-friendly cut methinks when I first heard this album – and I now find out that Radio 2 gave it a spin very recently.
Scooby has worked and toured with the likes of Ed Sheeran, Black Eyed Peas and Craig David, but no info supplied as to in what capacity, so I am presuming he is a backing singer. On this hearing, he deserves to take the spotlight as the main vocalist in his own right.
He sings two on this album. “Ambitious Like Cream”, and track eight, “Oh Bernice”, which starts off with a tinkling piano which sounds like it’s going into the Tears For Fears classic, “Mad World”. It doesn’t go there though….A really lovely song written by Nigel Evans and Steven Tart. Killer vocal from Scooby Jones.
“Realisation” penned by Nigel Evans, Laura Vane and Greg Hougton (who plays fabulously funky bass on the track) is a winner. The arrangement, and the vocal phrasing by Laura, add huge value.
“Power Rocks You”, – which reminded me of the fabulous Down To The Bone – is a slick instrumental written by Nigel and all instruments played by him too, as they are across all 11 tracks – with bass on some supplied by Greg Houghton.
Laura Vane is on form on “Mr Right”, a funky Rose Royce/Destiny’s Child vibe, written by Evans and Vane. As is John Turrell – of Smoove and Turrell fame – who turns in a very strong vocal on the Northern Soul-style gem “Silly Games, which he penned with Nigel and Greg Houghton. Current single “Ten Feet Tall”, funks it up and Laura’s sounding uber-cool.
Penultimate cut, the groove-soaked instrumental “Speculate”, takes me back to my clubbing days in the 70s and 80. Sadly these days, my back goes out more than I do!
The strangely named “Fireblanket” (Evans and Vane) closes proceedings, but it didn’t do it for me at all. With that said, the rest most certainly did -so much so, “Accumulate” is straight onto Music Republic Magazine’s “Best Album of 2020” long-list (results out in December)…..Classy stuff indeed.
By Simon Redley
(2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
(3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
(4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
(5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’