(This review first appeared in issue 60 of Shindig! magazine.)
Well Suspect CD / LP
Aided by acid-jazz supremo Andy Lewis (Pimlico, Paul Weller etc.) in the producer's chair, Hallam's latest album holds on to her modernist Hammond-groove roots but reaches new conceptual heights. Thirteen tracks, loosely held together by themes of spirituality and an unspoken religiosity, they sound like they belong to a early '70s counterculture inspired musical. Hallam and her assembled band are on killer form with a sound that's somewhere between Julie Driscoll's psych-infused R&B and the big-hearted orchestral soul of Marta Kubišová. The Medway modette still has it.
Further sonic territory is explored via the spacey soul-searching of 'Fragment', the Robert Kirby style strings on 'Heart Cries Out' and the lover's lament of 'Colours'. Though for the most part finger-snapping soul beats brush up against Latino-funk on an album that exudes both cool sophistication and an exuberance that pushes you towards the nearest dancefloor. All that and fuzz-guitar breaks! What more could you want?!