Adding a pretty unique voice to the Kindie scene, SHINE AND THE MOONBEAMS' closest sonic relative is probably the SUGAR FREE ALLSTARS (Shawana Kemp aka Shine actually guested on their last record) in carrying the flag for some old-school R&B grooves and bringing those sounds to younger audiences for the very first time. And within those sounds lies variety, such as the Latin flavor in the opening cut, "The Melody in Me" -
Live recordings of "Kilimanjaro" have been floating around for a bit, and here it gets a proper studio treatment. Then you have "Do You Ever Stop?", which carries a sound akin to early-90s Dance Music (which kids get down to, trust me), the jazzy, "I Can't Sleep" (one of my favorites here), and the funk of "Shake for Eight."
While there's some great songs here, where the album runs into problems is with the overall mix. Shawana Kemp has an incredibly powerful voice as-is, and here we find it presented in a manner that puts it out in front of the rest of the band to the point where it can become overbearing. It sounds as if we're not listening to Shine and the Moonbeams as a cohesive unit, but Shine in front of the Moonbeams. The inclusion of the 2010 recordings of "Bully Bully" and "High Five" offer a prime comparison, where the mix on those original recordings trumps the album versions.
The Rock Father Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
FTC Disclosure: As noted above, this album was provided to The Rock Father for the purpose of review consideration. All opinions are that of James Zahn with input from his children. Why are you actually reading this disclosure? It's government-mandated common sense, right?