The soulful and precise vocals of Lovetta Pippen are responsible in no small part for making this collection of blues-influenced soul, jazz and r’n'b so worthy for a playlist spot in a late night cafe with candles flickering and hushed voices speaking.
Featuring a cover of Duke Ellington’s Solitude with added muffled “this is old, dontcha know” gramophone effects and the undoubtedly sassy production skills of main man Warren Defever, the album starts with a song worthy of Sugababes or TLC called ‘Nothing Special’ and follows this up with something that could have appeared on Nitin Sawhney’s latest album ‘Prophesy’ (via an interlude) called, rather straightly, ‘Happy Blues’. Defever has his Wurlitzer out and uses it to good effect here; and it is curious considering the respective roots of His Name Is Alive and Nitin Sawhney how they came to sound so similar in places. With ‘Write My Name In The Groove’, the ghost of TLC returns to haunt. Even the melody sounds like “don’t go chasing waterfalls”; and there’s more of the same on ‘One Year’.
The basic r’n'b vibe running through the album does become somewhat tedious, however, with little variation of pace or even tone to help us stay awake. ‘Your Cheating Heart’ comes close, returning to Sugababes territory, but even this wouldn’t be played in clubs; and if you played it in your bedroom it would quickly become irritating.
No, the only place for this slice of Defever’s musical catalogue is a late night cafe full of people who consider fashion more important than spirit, when you are too drunk to care about formulaic r’n'b with no pace to it.