Us3 - Questions
Ooooooh, how cool is this music? It defines ‘cool’. There should be an excerpt of opening track ‘A New Beginning’ in the dictionary, it just sums it up. Stressful day? Release a sigh to Us3, ‘ahhh, phhhh, mmm hmm, niiiice!’
Combining elements of smooth jazz, sexy soul and simple hip-hop beats with benevolent bebop and many other, worldly styles. This is music that can easily gain respect on both the streets and the world circuit. Globally urban.
“Whatcha gonna do, when the music’s calling you? You’ve got no choice, gotta move!” is the main refrain of track two and it’s so true, it’ll get those hips swinging and that bootie shaking, the style and pace of Us3’s sound demands a head-nodding and a foot-tapping. ‘What Does That Mean?’ is very cleverly rapped by new recruit Reggi Wyns, questioning the meaning of peace. The turntable cuts sound as if they have been lifted directly from The Avalanches’ ‘Frontier Psychiatrist’ but DJ First Rate makes it all fit perfectly.
‘Believe In Yourself’ is one of the standout tracks, promoting a very positive attitude towards life, it’s nice to have a break from all the dejected and negative music that populates the charts and shelves these days. The song incorporates some super piano by Mike Gorman, from a Moby-style note run to some chilled jazz licks, it’s a clear demonstration of new female-singer, Mpho’s beautiful vocal talent and Wyns’ short rap part in the middle gives the song a feel similar to Tupac’s legendary ‘Changes.’
The supporting single: ‘Cantaloop 2004: Soul Mix’ is pristinely placed at number six, brilliant in its way and providing definite chic and class. ‘Can U Feel It?’ seems a little angrier than the rest of the album, but it’s a very acceptable track that keeps things moving along and adds a little variety to the mix.
‘When She’s Dancing’ is another instant classic on this record, comparable to Michael Jackson’s thrilling (thank you) [Ed - don't mention it.] ‘Wanna Be Startin Somethin’ with the line being sung in a high vocal style very alike to that of the King of Pop. On ‘Goodbye,’ the main man and musical maestro behind Us3, Geoff Wilkinson, combines an Eminem-esque beat and choon with the familiar rap of Wyns and a vocal style from Mpho very like to C-Mone’s on The Streets’ wonderfully funny ‘Get Out Of My House.’ All this culminates in an extremely enjoyable boppy track.
The record may be slightly too lengthy, and seems to have lost it a bit by the time it gets to ‘Give Thanks’ where Wyns’ rapping may seem a little overpowering, but the track’s crammed with enough fun record splices and synthy bass to fully compensate. The final instrumental ‘The Healer’ rounds the album off stylishly though and at this point you are glad you stuck with it to the end, because it was certainly worth it. Maybe pressing stop short of the bonus bossa mix of ‘Cantaloop’ would be advisable, certainly if you are familiar with the five free remixes on the single of ‘Cantaloop: 2004.’
Wilkinson and the gang should feel proud of what they have accomplished, because in all honesty it is a very good record. There’s heaps of potential here, although simple, the songs are very strong and there is nothing on the album that a little polish and elbow grease couldn’t fix. An immensely poignant album from a band that are certainly on their way. Keep an eye to the ground for future releases!