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Sola Rosa - Album Review: Chasing The Sun

25 Sep 2020 // A review by Gaby Ivanov-Giraldo

The architect of Sola Rosa is Andrew Spraggon, a musician/producer based in Auckland, New Zealand. Spraggon has created his next major chapter, Chasing The Sun, which took a decent stretch of time in the making. This album took five long years to create, each song recorded in a unique studio, with extraordinary character. From the early stages in Spraggon’s music career, he’s mastered the art of collaboration. Spraggon is now in a great place in his career where he is able to create music with some of Aotearoa’s, and the world’s, best musicians to date. The success of the band is largely in the talent and coordination of its people, as well as in the pure musical craftsmanship of Spraggon’s production. Each tune created with perfection, meshing together funk-fusion, hip-hop, Latin, EDM, jazz, rhythm, soul, neo soul and R&B. Sola Rosa is an evolving, innovative band that demonstrates what cooperation in music can ignite. Chasing The Sun is out now, and with true zeal!

The album opens with the track For The Mighty Dollar featuring Kevin Mark Trail and Sharlene Hector. Instantly we’re drawn in with mighty horns, then a symphony of soul, complimented by a smooth bassline, and a sweet sparse funk guitar. The track is lit alive with the harmonious and heartfelt vocals of Kevin Mark Trail (The Streets) and Sharlene Hector (Basement Jaxx). The pair’s expressive lyrics evoke hard-hitting messages of money, power and greed. This song makes you really think of what lays behind the existence of our current climate. Like all music, the message is there, and up to interpretation. A consistency is felt throughout this album, that being definitely the quality production. This song is contemplative, original, and showcases Spraggon’s elegant and engaging sound. The music video, directed by Elliot O'Donnell, is very compelling, and viewable here.

Runnin' feat. Shach Seven & Sharlene Hector is track two, which is rich in sound. Shach Seven’s voice is thick, overflowing and raspy. Both Shach Seven and Sharlene Hector balance the melody well together with charming vocals. Then we have the funk guitar, drums, vocals, and trumpets which all amalgamate so well together, really exposing Sola Rosa's true forte. Something Good feat. Thandi Phoenix is track three; a really uplifting and bouncing beat. The song is about affection and exploration; an ode to good company and connection. This song’s a bit more pop, with slick drums and glamorous synth. The guitar is smooth, and the groove is catchy and consistent. Australian singer songwriter Thandi Phoenix has powerful vocals that take charge of the song. She’s a queen of modern soul, having performed and featured with artists like Rudimental, Vera Blue and Tinashe.

You Don't Know feat. Josh Barry is a real gem on this album. The guitar is alluring and resilient, which seriously compliments the vocals of Josh Barry. Barry’s voice is reminiscent of Anthony Hamilton, with maybe a bit of D’Angelo on the higher notes; both comparisons being beautifully husky, with a neo soul and R&B feel. This song projects the passions of love’s anguish and strife; testifying emotions with vocal intensity. Chasing The Sun feat. Wallace & Kevin Mark Trail is track five. This song is a laid back, on-the-go testament to a good day. Spacey, loving and chill; this song has gentle brush strokes, and a calmness of layers that brings out the harmony in the vocals.

Star To Star feat. Troy Kingi is a perplexing and fun track. The voice of Troy Kingi has a bellowing power that couples perfectly with the finesse and fortitude of his bluesy guitar. This song dismisses our cry as humans for a higher being to celebrate the cosmos. Searching For Love feat. Kiko Bun is track seven, a golden track with a lot of character. It’s ageless, catchy, and has a solid presence from New Zealand musicians such as Mahuia Bridgeman-Cooper and the Black Quartet, Julien Dyne and Jeremy Toy. The star voice is that of UK reggae singer Kiko Bun, who tops the vocal melody with an unforgettable synergy to the groove. This song really just makes you feel good above love, music, and walking down the street with those two themes beaming in coexistence.

Shine On feat. Thandi Phoenix is a song for the queens; it’s a glorification of self-worth, confidence, independence and hard work. Self-doubt gets the better of many of us, and music that helps you ease this thought process, turn around, and love yourself should always be turned up ten notches. Thandi’s voice with the keys, horns, and sassy guitar really give this song instrumental delicacy. No Idea feat. Jerome Thomas is an R&B number with talkative guitar and horns. It's a song about passion and human connection.

This album seems to have its own call and response dynamic; the love songs are somewhat reinvented, and have their own perspective from a male and female voice. They may not necessarily be about the opposing sex, but it’s evened out with equal contribution to the message of relationships. So Many Times feat. Kevin Mark Trail continues this theme with love at the core of troubled times. This track has excellent harmonies, synth and production. My Love feat. Eva Lazarus opens with beautiful keys and natural, gritty vocals. You hear a possible Erykah Badu influence here; a 90’s neo soul sound with a modern twist. This song is a real mental release, a subtle Adam and Eve theme, paying homage to the magic of the natural world and physical affection. Closing Statement feat. Wallace finishes the album quite cinematically with its own name; it’s a smooth end to a fantastic collection of songs, easing off the whole project with groove and gratitude.

This is an album to fall in love with, and what a year to be released! We needed this more than ever. It’s not only a testament to funk, it’s a testament to hard work and perfection. The unique composition of each song gives no doubt to Sola Rosa's international success. What a relief it may feel to Andrew Spraggon to get this out there, and grateful are we for this myriad of talent, time and energy; showcasing what dedication really does to music!

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )
 

About Sola Rosa

Sola Rosa is one of Kiwi music’s most evolutionary and enduring acts.

With seven full-length albums, four EP's, a handful of hits, countless collaborations and numerous world tours, it’s been a 20-year labour of love for the man behind the music, Andrew Spraggon.

And although it’s punctuated with twists and turns in the form of constant change and innovation, one thing has remained the same – Spraggon’s steadfast commitment to making great albums that seamlessly blend a myriad of genres, from hip-hop and jazz, to neo-soul, latin and funk.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Sola Rosa

Releases

Chasing The Sun
Year: 2020
Type: Album
In Spaces
Year: 2018
Type: EP
Magnetics
Year: 2014
Type: Album
Solarized (Refreshed)
Year: 2013
Type: Album
Low And Behold, High And Beyond
Year: 2012
Type: Album
Get It Together - The Remixes
Year: 2010
Type: Album
Get It Together
Year: 2009
Type: Album
Moves On
Year: 2005
Type: Album
Haunted Out Takes
Year: 2003
Type: Album
The Ready Now EP
Year: 2003
Type: EP
Solarized
Year: 2001
Type: Album
Entrance To Skyway
Year: 2001
Type: EP

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