Kindred the Family Soul - The Arrival (2008)

Kindred the Family Soul
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As a subject, love and relationships are inevitable in R&B, since nearly every listener can relate. Nothing exilarates, alienates, or aggravates quite like it. Being head over heels is one thing, but stoking the fire and keeping it hot after the bills and the babies come along takes more, and that's what husband and wife duo Fatin Dantzler and Aja Graydon, a.k.a. Kindred The Family Soul, convey flawlessly on their third and latest CD, The Arrival.

As a subject, love and relationships are inevitable in R&B, since nearly every listener can relate. Nothing exilarates, alienates, or aggravates quite like it. Being head over heels is one thing, but stoking the fire and keeping it hot after the bills and the babies come along takes more, and that's what husband and wife duo Fatin Dantzler and Aja Graydon, a.k.a. Kindred The Family Soul, convey flawlessly on their third and latest CD, The Arrival.

Mr. Dantzler and Ms. Graydon, as artists and as husband and wife, continue to bring an authentic 'grown folks' feel to their music.  There's more cohesion and polish this time around, thanks to the addition of other co-writers and producers (Adam Blackstone, Steve McKie and Dre and Vidal), but nothing dilutes the emotional undercurrents between them. Universal themes are blended throughout, found in the moody mid-tempo, "Pressure," and "Struggle," where the couple describe the internal dramas of raising a growing family in an instable society; "Two more in the world," Aja sings of their recently-born twin daughters."Can't lie, I'm scared. It just don't seem to be a safe haven anywhere." They even expound on their trials and tribulations as artists in the opener, "Can't Help It," rueful of the state of popular music today: "Sex seems to be the norm when I turn the radio on," Aja sighs, but Fatin is upbeat, fervent in his belief that "just because we didn't compromise our integrity," their talents will continue to bear fruit.  

What also works is that The Arrival, while offering a variety of styles and approaches, doesn't neglect what makes Kindred unique to begin with; real, relatable love songs. "House of Love," the first single, takes each memory of their union, good or bad, and creates a solid foundation for their marriage and their family: "We had bumps along the way, quite a few surprises. But we held fast, dealt with all the compromises." "Love We Share" is a gospel-esque, ride-or-die ode to the relationship: Aja's sultry soprano and Fatin's gritty baritone shore up one another and offer more heat than July with their fervent exclamations about their enduring love: "First time I touched you Girl, it's like you changed my world, made a player get up out the game.....when I'm sick you're like my medicine, heal me deep within. It's like you're always right by my side." And any long-term couple will find themselves in the 70's flavored "Rightfully So," describing a partner you both love and loathe in the same breath: "You make me wanna pull my hair out. I can't get through to you, no matter how loud I shout. I take all I can take, but still there's no place I'd rather be; I adore you, and rightfully so."

Anyone can be 'crazy in love' and drop a hot club beat once in a while, but few artists of any genre offer the bone-deep, lived-in emotion and musiciality that Kindred The Family Soul provides on The Arrival. Filled with moving lyrics, compelling tracks and voices rich with range and harmony, their third release is the charm; a must for the CD changer that comes highly, enthusiastically recommended.  

By Melody Charles

 
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