His Name is Alive
Beggars Banquet / 4AD
For those not familiar with this Detroit-based duo, don't insinuate that they're a bible-thumping gospel group just by the name. Although that's how Warn Defever discovered Lovetta Pippen, when the latter was singing in a choir, their sullen, sultry grooves are more old-school jazz, soul and trip-hop than praises to the lord.
Equal parts Goldfrapp, Les Nubians and Sade, His Name is smooth like Keith Sweat, without all the generic R&B pomp and circumstance. The title track reverberates with simple, yet sexy guitar, bass and laid-back drumming, but it is Pippen's voice that seals the deal. Although the throwaways are few and far between, the folk-pop elements on tracks like "Teardrops" may be a bit too saccharine, but the melancholy and catchy chorus overshadow it. Love, and sinful lyrical overtones combine to form the antithesis of Pippen's roots, but are merely metaphors for the bluesy feel of the record. This is not quite the shag album that it starts out to be, but a record of musical brevity that is worth listening to when the pangs of sadness hit you like Indian food an hour after eating.
Beggars Banquet: http://www.beggars.com