Arranged, composed and produced by Nicole Willis & The Soul Investigators.
Catalog number: TR-701
Review: Nicole Willis & The Soul Investigators – Happiness In Every Style
Helsinki’s soul revivalists, The Soul Investigators return with their third collaborative album with Brooklyn born, Helsinki resident, Nicole Willis. Self penned, performed, produced and released on their own label “Timmion Records”. Entitled “Happiness In Every Style”, it does indeed shift through a variety of styles, each track quite different from the last; though not all about happiness, it does have some very high moments and is generally a lighter affair than their 2013 “Tortured Soul” album. Two of the highest moments are provided by the singles “One In A Million” and “Paint Me In A Corner”, both with a bright and catchy northern soul meets deep funk feel and both with terrific energy. The album title itself comes from a line in the lyrics for the thrilling, high energy funker “Let’s Communicate”. Elsewhere the feel ranges from moody, to light, reflective, noirish and even some nice afro influences to the flute-driven instrumental “Bad Viberations”. The playing handled on all with a raw tinged, confident swagger.
Admittedly, all through my first listen, I was secretly hoping to hear the likes of the epic closing track from Tortured Soul, “You Got Me Moon Walking” – one of my favourite album tracks of recent years – a full, stretched-out groove with plenty of interesting changes. Whilst perhaps there is nothing quite as epic here, there are certainly epic moments such as the vibes solo of “Paint Me In A Corner” for one, the magnificent organ solo that closes the beautiful “Angel” for another. I certainly feel this is their most accomplished, mature album yet and the lofty singles to be career best. Also noteworthy, is the very tasty bonus track “Hot Sauce”, a very simple groove that doesn’t change up much but is nevertheless a low-down, nasty piece of funk in all the best ways.
All round greatness, variety, warmth and depth from Nicole Willis & The Soul Investigators – a fine and mature album with a few tracks that should stay with you for a while and last the test of time as all good soul music does.