Rating: * * * *
Verdict: Motown done Aotearoa soul style
A candidate for most fun and danceable local album of the year. Not a dingy dancefloor though, more like lining up your brothers and sisters, cousins and aunties, for an all-in family danceathon.
The Open Souls' second full-length release is a stark contrast to the Auckland seven-piece band's hip-hop influenced debut, Kaleidoscope, from 2006.
They don't get more effortless and cruisy than songs like first single, Hold You Close, even if it is unashamedly influenced by 60s Motown acts like Diana Ross and the Supremes, the Four Tops, and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles.
And the bouncy hook to When You Gonna Stop? conjures up the sweet boppy lilt of Baby Love or My Boy Lollipop.
It might sound a touch fluffy and too feelgood to be true but Standing In The Rain has a carefree confidence and easy-going swagger to it. There are also some lethal lyrical shots on staunch soul anthem Dollars; the brutal break-up song Love Turns Wild; and the sad and touching Prayer, about singer Tyra Hammond's little sister who died suddenly last year. The latter song is still uplifting and breezy in the way it makes you want to dance and sing along, which sums up the mood of the album.
So line up in the lounge, and get down and dance in sweet harmony and unison.