The British have never really done RnB very well. While the Americans can boast of such names as Lauryn Hill and Jill Scott, the closest thing we have to a soul hero is the seriously lightweight Craig David. However, with the emergence of Ms Dynamite and now Terri Walker, a 23-year-old Londoner, the future is looking brighter.
Having said that, the Ms Dynamite comparison is a bit off the mark – this is more relaxed and laid back than the current darling of the media. If anything this is closer to Beverley Knight than anything else. There’s no preponderance of guest stars or an obligatory Neptunes remix – just quality songs sung by a seriously classy voice.
Walker herself says she’s influenced by the eighties soul divas such as Mica Paris and Caron Wheeler. Indeed, tracks such as the single Guess You Didn’t Love Me recalls the glory days of Soul II Soul, with its laid back beats. Elsewhere, Drawing Board displays some pleasing jazzy stylings, while the gorgeous ballad of What Will I Do is the album’s highpoint. Walker’s sweet as honey vocals mix effectively with guest singer Blueblood, and the result is sure to have lovers everywhere swooning. Only the oddity of Deutschland (a minute long track sung in German) sounds out of place.
If there is a criticism of Untitled it’s that it’s all a bit too smooth at times. It would be nice if there was a darker side occasionally, as glimpsed in the best of Lauryn Hill’s work. As it is, by the second half of the CD, tracks such as Dirty Weekend and Four Feet Under meander by pleasantly if anonymously.
With a huge array of producers and songwriters behind her, Def Soul obviously have high hopes for Terri Walker. If she keeps to this blueprint and adds a bit of edge to her sound, she’s definitely a future star.