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Brown Sugar Factory - EP Review: Halina't Sumayaw

27 Apr 2022 // A review by Danica Bryant

Brown Sugar Factory’s latest EP Halina't Sumayaw is an incomparable blend of funk, house, pop and dancehall, boasting the diverse musical backgrounds of producer Reid Ulberg and singer-songwriter Roberto Jatulan.

Opening to silky vocal adlibs and gentle rain, Til Next Saturday pulses under smooth guitar and incredible harmonies. On paper, the song changes so much it should lose its way, but it does quite the opposite, constantly switching up without ever losing its unmistakable energy. Harana Sosa toys with elements of the nostalgic disco pop currently taking over the airwaves, but infuses it with a healthy dose of funky bass. The sweeping chorus melody feels like a breath of fresh air amongst the rest of the song’s inspired, busy instrumentals. When it finds its way to the chanted bridge, it’s impossible not to picture yourself in the heat of a summer festival mosh pit, singing along to the talents of Brown Sugar Factory.

Halina't Sumayaw offers a brief moment of slow vocals at the start of Funkfessions Pt. 1 before tumbling into another incredibly strong dance vibe. Roll It quickly follows, showcasing enthusiastic, often gritty vocals over its relentless beat. Its spoken-word bridge particularly stands out, bringing some of Brown Sugar Factory's clear electricity in a live format to the studio. 

Perhaps the only notable criticism for this collection of songs is that somewhere amongst these third and fourth tracks, there could have been more diversion from the consistent dancefloor pace. Closing track Paraiso does, however, urge listeners to “slow down”, as it pulls attention away from the singing and instead focuses on sultry electric guitar, clean keys and interesting lo-fi effects. 

Across the board, Halina't Sumayaw’s production quality stands with the best. It’s well-mixed, carefully shining a light on every featured instrument, whilst maintaining an ever-danceable groove. It’s clear Brown Sugar Factory have immense knowledge on how to make every element of a song work to their advantage. Moreover, the beautiful purple-hued cover art perfectly represents the EP’s earthly, relaxed aura, summarising the collection well.

Undeniably, Halina't Sumayaw is an inventive, highly polished release, ideal for fans of pop, funk and house all willing to expand their horizons into the crossover genre. Brown Sugar Factory prove themselves a formidable force on the dance circuit with this impressive EP.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )

About Brown Sugar Factory

Brown Sugar Factory is the brainchild of Auckland-based DJ and producer Reid Ulberg and singer/songwriter Roberto Jatulan. Combining their Canadian and Filipino backgrounds with a classical education, these innovative and passionate musicians produce a sound that is unique yet immediately catchy. Following their wildly popular debut, Brown Sugar Factory’s second single Watermelancholy released in September and was immediately loved and shared by fans.

Playing live, Brown Sugar Factory have the versatility to switch up their performance and tailor it to the venue and audience. They can play as a duo, energetic and crowd-building, or as a funky five piece, to lift the vibe even further. They can play as a duo, energetic and crowd-building, or as a funky 5 piece, to lift the vibe even further. Combining the energy & experience of eclectic soul singer Phoebe Walsh (Kazia) and bassist/flautist Michael Anderson, (The Vibes) with the funk filled licks of seasoned guitarist Mitchell Goodfellow (Big Tasty). Together, these seasoned and talented musicians complement Brown Sugar Factory perfectly, adding live instrumentation over self-produced tracks with a combination of original songs and clever reworks of classic and modern hits. From soft emotional ballads to house dance parties, Brown Sugar Factory will liven any sized room and leave all ages with a night to remember.

Recently Brown Sugar Factory were invited to play a mainstage slot at sold out AUM festival in Auckland's North Head for a 5,000+ strong crowd.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Brown Sugar Factory


Halina't Sumayaw
Year: 2022
Type: EP

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