Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1099

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Review

BROTHERLY: ONE SWEET LIFE

Brotherly: One Sweet Life

7

6.2

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UK release date 14.05.2007

Brotherly are essentially multi-instrumentalist Robin Mullarkey and vocalist Anna Stubbs. Individually and as a duo, they’ve been on the scene for some time.

Indeed one of this album’s key note tracks, 'Put It Out', dates from ’05 when our singles reviewer made it record of the week no less. It’s easy to hear why. With Eska Mtungwazi adding beef to the vocal, it’s a bumpy, funky ride with tasty Charles Stepney inspired harmonies. There’s more Rotary Connection connections on the moody “Raindown” and the sweet interlude that is 'World In A World'.

Other ear catchers include the Ty-rhymed 'One Sweet Life' and the gruff 'Elevate' which features Earl Zinger. But the album’s signature tune is the lengthy opener, 'System'. It clocks in at over 7 minutes and is hard to pin down. It’s bumpy - almost broken in its beats – but the smoky Stubbs’ vocal gives a smoothness that creates tensions with the rhythms. Throw in a Bobbi Humphreys inspired flute solo from Finn Peters and you have a heady concoction that will intrigue and inspire.

The usual ebullient PR people mention Brotherly in the same breath as Donald Byrd, Earth Wind & Fire, George Duke and the Mahavishnu Orchestra and though space won’t allow me to challenge those comparisons, I will say that Brotherly’s music does challenge in ways similar to the music of those aforementioned maestros.
Words Bill Buckley

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