But PPP (or the Platinum Pied Pipers, as they were known until a law suit) are full of confidence, having shared stages with Roy Ayers and Mark Ronson over the last year. And it’s the former rather than the latter they lean towards, offering funk-fuelled fodder for the soul.
Abundance has a real sense of community, the feeling being that you’re stood on a corner somewhere in the band’s native Detroit. Despite the fact they have relocated to Brooklyn (and who these days hasn’t), if you look one way you’re confronted with soulful, funky music reminiscent of Motown, while if you turn the other a glimpse of the motor city’s hip hop and techno heritage is offered.
These reflect the background of the two staples to PPP, with Wajeed, a founding member of Slum Village, given ample assistance by Saadiq. Their debut album Triple P featured such luminaries as Dilla, Steve Spacek and the SA-RA Creative Partners, and to say that Abundance builds handsomely on the promise of that record is praise indeed.
With a cleverly realised balancing act of musical styles, it helps that the PPP vocalists are superb. Coultrain, Karma Stewart and Jamila Raegan offer raw emotion and lyrical drive. As they get into the groove of swinging funk tracks like Smoking Mirrors and the upward looking Luv Affair there’s a real sense of uplifting togetherness, the former a gospel track in all but name as the collective sway from side to side.
First single On A Cloud is particularly good – so effective that it could easily hail from the Motown stable, with its brassy overtones resounding strongly while the vocal soars.
Meanwhile Countless Excuses heads straight onto the dancefloor with its hand claps, but adds a lovely, tender instrumental cameo in the middle. Even with these in mind, the best moment of the album occurs in the transition from the string line of Sanctuary to the heavy set swing beat of Ain’t No Ifs Or Maybes.
The whole album is well planned and works really well, and on reflection couldn’t really come from anywhere else than Detroit. As an antidote to the cares of the world, it proves an early tonic in 2009.