Artist: Sy Smith
Title: Fast And Curious
Label: Psyko! Records
Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and all around soul diva Sy Smith has made a career out of carving her own path. While she can be considered a soul music artist, her sound and style is so much more as she has effortlessly experimented with genres and tempo. She also plays well with others and has collaborated notably with a slew of artists including Nicolay, The Foreign Exchange, Zo!, and Mark de Clive-Lowe. A surprise performance with Mark de Clive-Lowe (at our very own Strictly Social event) sparked a slew of appearances around the country by the pair as well as the creation of Sy Smith’s latest album, the lovingly upbeat and adventurous Fast And Curious. Produced entirely by de Clive-Lowe, the album is probably Smith’s most brilliant work yet, fully expressing the singer’s personality and vibe with joyous lyrics and upbeat productions that span funky soul, broken beat, and soulful house.
Sy Smith is a woman in LOVE as one listen to the remarkable Fast And Curious will no doubt prove. The album moves along with considerable energy and power, grabbing your attention right away and keeping it for all 11 lengthy tracks. All the songs have a very warm and loving feel to them, no doubt aimed at putting smiles on faces and butts on dancefloors. Mark de Clive-Lowe and Sy have considerable chemistry (if you have never seen them live do yourself a favor) and their distinct styles mesh perfectly. Mark creates a world of sunny rhythms that conjure up tropical beaches and frozen cocktails for Sy to play in and play she does. Each song unfolds luxuriously to transport the listener into Sy’s beautiful world. The nearly 7 minute long “Personal Paradise” is a prime example of this, with its exotic percussion and broken beat vibes. There is a predominantly house flavor to the album that is showcased on tracks like “Let The Rain Fall Down” and standout “Message From The Stars.” Another standout is the rework of Billy Ocean’s “Nights” featuring Rashaan Patterson. The track bumps with fierce energy and flawless vocals by both artists. Even some of the album’s slower tracks such as the grooved out tribute to Teena Marie “Teena” and the ultra-sexy “The Ooh To My Ahh” don’t slow down the propulsive nature of the album, but rather showcase Sy and Mark’s ability to take the listener on a truly varied and compelling journey. The perfect soundtrack for the spring and summer this is one album that you don’t want to skip out on.
- Norman Mayers