Monday, February 24, 2014

RECORD REVIEW: The Edge Effect "Alphabet Radio"

Alphabet Radio
Ultrasound Music Group

Simply put, think
Bruno Mars
Earth, Wind & Fire
at an all-night
Smokey Robinson
house party.
And it sounds so
fresh, you can
actually smell it.

All six members of the Orlando-based vocal act, The Edge Effect, already had achieved significant success in their respective music careers prior to forming as a group in 2011. Yet, despite having performed individually alongside such industry giants as Stevie Wonder, Prince and David Foster, they still were seeking greater "artistic fulfillment." And the realization of that "fulfillment" is embodied in the recent release of their 2014 debut record, Alphabet Radio.

Produced by Jamey Tate and The Edge Effect at various Central Florida and Southern California recording studios, the record offers ten high-energy tracks, the majority of which are original compositions written by group members, Karl Hudson, John Gibson II, Solomon Jaye, Troy Dolendo, Sean Gerrity and Daniel Alan.

Touting "Who's Who" résumés, the Edge Effect backing band is comprised of keyboardist Jeff Babko (Frank Ocean, Jason Mraz), guitarist Andrew Synowiec (Michael Bublé, Marc Anthony), drummer Jamey Tate (Al Jarreau, David Benoit) and Jonathan Bradley on trumpet. All bass tracks were performed vocally by The Edge Effect's Karl Hudson.

"We wanted to write songs 
that you could sing along
to after the very first time
you heard them."
-John Gibson II (The Edge Effect)

"We all have many interests 
and influences, and we 
wanted this album to 
reflect that."
-Troy Dolendo (The Edge Effect)

Highlights include "All Night" and "Get on Down" — both of which ooze a super-charged party vibe, while acclaimed R&B singer / songwriter, Marc Broussard delivers a guest lead vocal on his tune, "Biggest Fan" — a track that is beautifully reminiscent of old school, 70's-style vocal soul.

Written by Solomon Jaye, "Monsters" is a smooth-groovin' duet between Jaye and singer / stage actress, Shoshana Bean. Lyrically similar to a recent hit of a similar name by Eminem and Rihanna, I'm not sure which is the "chicken" or the "egg." However, Jaye's is an overall better written and more enjoyable song.

Another shiny gem is the infectious, soulful track, "Get Right." The record's only cover tune, it was written by Mindi Abair and appeared originally on her 2010 album, "In Hi-Fi Stereo." And the Edge Effect remake even features a sassy sax contribution from the renown jazz / pop artist.

Alphabet Radio ends strong with the super-groovy and catchy, Beach Boys-flavored ditty, "Come Get a Taste" — rounding out an impressive debut record that's well-worth seeking.

Operator, get me the NFL — I've got a great idea for next year's Super Bowl "Half Time" show!


-Christopher Long
(February 2014)

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