Human Nature – the fifth album from the UK’s roots and jazz outfit Soothsayers – has been preceded by a number of glorious tunes, and happily enough the full album manages to live up to, and even exceed, expectations.
Where their previous vocal album One More Reason relied much on acclaimed guest vocalists, such as Michael Prophet and Johnny Clarke, this set is rather based around classic three part vocal harmonies courtesy of trumpeter Robin Hopcraft, saxophonist/clarinetist Idris Rahman and Julia Biel. The harmonies are unpolished and honest, andit fits the production – led by Nick Manasseh and Yesking – beautifully.
Human Nature boasts a myriad of influences on both melodies and arrangements. The backbone is reggae, but it’s spiced with dub, afro-beat, funk, country, pop, jazz, British folk music and soul.
The warm harmony-rich sound was recorded in Prince Fatty’s analogue studio and is filled with alluring melancholy and striking horns, especially on One Day, an irresistible track with a melody aimed to make your eyes wet, and One More Reason, with a horns arrangement that would make Maceo Parker and Fred Wesley of The J.B.’s proud.
Soothsayers also manage to make the much-versioned The Streets of London sound contemporary and fresh. The main ingredients are the gentle bass line, the luring organ, the heartbreaking horns and, of course, the purity of the intertwined voices.
This masterpiece of an album is now available on CD and in digital formats.