Brand New Day
Beehive used to be called The Funky Beehive. They changed possibly because it didn't have much street credibility . . . and that little snippet of trivia gives some insight into the band--namely, that their music is largely jazzy funk, and they play mainly in clubland. Last year their profile was raised a few notches by their winning the MOBO (Music of Black Origin) award for Best Gospel Act.
This album has more sonic depth than their live show, due to the
many contributions here from key players in the Christian session-musicians
league, including Terl Bryant (of Iona) with some percussive sounds, and
Raul D'Oliveira, Mike Innes, and Ben Castle bringing some brass in to add
to the jazzy side of the sound.
so many people that I meet,
greet me with smiling faces yet troubles lie beneath
we're all looking for the answers
to the questions in our minds
for truth and understanding in a world that's so unkind.
(from "Answer To Prayer")
Kaz Lewis has won acclaim for her soulful vocals, and while I wouldn't go to the extremes that some of those writers have gone to, her singing is definitely powerful and versatile. The other vocalist on the album is Guy Houchen, who also plays guitar, and his vocals too are good, if not as soulful as Kaz's. Drummer John Graham and bassist Paul Lancaster put in top performances also (especially Paul's slap bass-playing), and the keyboards of Rob May hold the sound together well.
My biggest problem with this album is that after the good opening track, a number of the songs tend to drag - "Brand New Day" especially brings the tempo down, and I found it difficult to keep my concentration up through the whole song. Several of the tracks suffer from this, and as a result they don't stay with me after turning off the album.
In conclusion, this is a mixed bag. It has good musicianship and a fresh sound, but I personally would have gone for a different set of tracks, and would have tried for more diversity.-----James Stewart