US duo Floetry’s debut album was an unexpectedguest on the shortlist for the 2003 Mercury MusicPrize, but not on the evidence of its song writingquality. Follow-up Flo’Ology, then, has a bit to liveup to.
Despite the dubious title the early signs are good,the music into its stride immediately with a fusion ofsilky smooth vocals and rapping that has the meresthint of street attitude – a useful combination. Lineslike “wanna hit the solar of your plexus” promise muchon the lyrical front too, the two girls’ voicesinterlocking perfectly. The single Supastar is betterstill, enlisting rapper Common for a cameo thatgives them more of a cutting edge.
However there are signs of deterioration in Closerthat begin to affect, but not completely mar, the restof the album. These two girls have gorgeous singingand rapping voices – nicely understated, not too richand overbearing – but too many tracks begin with a lowregister spoken word intro, which at first comesacross as inward looking but then begins to breed whatsounds like indulgence. Closer works as there’s anedge to the spoken word, the music soulful yet sharp,but Feelings, despite its obvious profundity, takesthe softly softly approach too far. Sometimes U MakeMe Smile does the same, projecting a worthiness thatdoesn’t sit well with what’s gone before.
That said there are still many good things on thisrecord, and the girls’ willingness to experiment withovertones of dancehall secures the curiously upbeatalbum closer Waiting In Vain, opening up nicely in thechorus. I’ll Die, too, makes a statement with its softyet regimented vocal delivery, a strict licenseagainst improvisation working well. The duo also showthat making a sexy track needn’t be about the obviouscome-on, more subtle implications, as Lay Down proves,whispering its way through various rooms in the housewith rather more appeal than the cleaning rota.
Neither of the duo have the most powerful ofsinging voices, but that’s not meant as a criticism,more an observation that they work this to theiradvantage in the music, with My Apology a good exampleof their slightly darker take on modern RnB, noconcern with bling but more of a focus on feelings andattitudes. It’s a shame they overindulge on thebreathy musings, but their overall quality stillmanages to shine through.