Fifth Nation - Flight
The Fifth Nation CD, Flight, starts off with what sounds like ordinary modern vocal jazz fare, but then meanders through a surprisingly interesting mix that stays jazzy while touching on hint of pop and rock. The gifted singer has a great voice that's equally adept at both the sultry and the powerful, though I'd like to hear add a few more tricks to her arsenal, as she sounds more than capable of doing so. The guitarist and drummer both have solid chops and seem tightly locked in with each other, providing a solid, tasteful backing groove for the vocals. The lyrics are at times poetic, romantic, and even socially conscious without ever getting political or preachy.
The guitarists' settings/sound doesn't seem to change at all from track to track, and the way the drums were mic'd or EQ'd betrays the drummer's tasteful execution. This disc (and possibly this band) might benefit from bringing in a lead instrument like a sax or trumpet, or a multi-instrumentalist who could add several sounds, or possibly a pianist/keyboardist who can add to the rhythms and melodies of the guitar. But these are just minor qualms with what is otherwise a solid and enjoyable listen, right down to the hidden backwards track that closes it out. With some occasional funky rock riffs and unpredictable arrangements, Fifth Nation manages to be moody and smooth without ever being boring or sleepy; the kind of versatile jazzy disc that could work for Friday cocktail hour or Sunday brunch.
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