Kloud 9 - Enjoy the Ride (2009)

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    Change is in the air these days. Last Fall, we had two presidential candidates injecting the word into nearly every speech they make. Of course, both of them assumed that change is a good thing, and we know that ain't always the case. A lot of people have gotten pink slips or have seen their retirement investments tank, and that resulted in a change in their economic status. Some people have had to make a change of venue because of they could no longer afford to stay in their homes. Then, there is the ever changing sense of security brought on by the wars being waged in foreign lands and in some communities right here in America. All of these things drive home the point that change sometimes forces us to jump into the unknown, and the unknown is often scary. It's at those time when we reach for the comfort of the known quantity.
    Change is in the air these days. Last Fall, we had two presidential candidates injecting the word into nearly every speech they make. Of course, both of them assumed that change is a good thing, and we know that ain't always the case. A lot of people have gotten pink slips or have seen their retirement investments tank, and that resulted in a change in their economic status. Some people have had to make a change of venue because of they could no longer afford to stay in their homes. Then, there is the ever changing sense of security brought on by the wars being waged in foreign lands and in some communities right here in America. All of these things drive home the point that change sometimes forces us to jump into the unknown, and the unknown is often scary. It's at those time when we reach for the comfort of the known quantity.

    We might reach for a little comfort food, or fall into the familiar arms loved ones and enjoy the security being in the company of friends and family. Then, of course, there are those old songs that take us back to that time when it all seemed so much simpler. However, as Kendall and Kelvis Duffie - the twins better known as the musical duo Kloud 9 - have proved throughout their career, that kind of musical comfort food doesn't have to be old.

    Kloud 9 latest recording, Enjoy the Ride, offers the same solid-as-a-rock formula that served the duo so well on their previous recordings - On Kloud 9 and the award winning Yearning 2 Love. Those recordings feature the silky smooth and soulful soft tenor voices, tasteful lyrics that explore every aspect of romantic love and musical arrangements that seamlessly move from funky up-tempo dance tunes to laid back love ballads that continue to catch the attention of soul fans.

    The duo explores the importance of not taking a lover for granted on the tune "Appreciation." "I'm Calling You" proves that men can be eloquent and convincing singers of torch songs. The pulsating horns give the funky jam "Grateful" a definite old-school flair, while "All That Matters" features an ultra-smooth bass line that might remind some listeners of classic Maze.

    The Duffie twins don't inject their politics into the music they make. However, a song such as "Step" makes it obvious that the twins are aware of the tumultous times in which they live. Thematically, this song is similar to Earth, Wind & Fire's 1979 hit "Boogie Wonderland" - another song released during a time of ecomomic upheaval and global unrest. In both cases, the singers' search for security in an uncertain world leads them to the dance floor. However, the Duffie brothers don't want to get crunk - they want to revive the kind of classy couple dancing that is epitomized by Chicago-style stepping. And while "Boogie Wonderland" took its cue from disco (and has become a disco anthem), Kloud 9 is aiming "Step" at the fans of that musical genre and sub-culture.

    Overall, Enjoy the Ride is a record that will make the "grown and sexy" crowd very happy.  This group of listeners often gets pegged as people who are reacting against the synthesized hedonism and materalism of contemporary R&B. And while it is clear that these listeners recoil at much of what they hear on the radio, artists need to do more than feature a good voice and musicians playing real instruments to truly appeal to this demographic. The grown and sexy crowd are "total package" people. The best artists give their fans music that is lyrically strong, vocally inspired and musically well balanced. Kloud 9 does all of these things on Enjoy the Ride, and listeners will conclude that this record is aptly named. Highly Recommended

    Howard Dukes
     
    Choice Cut - Jennifer Hartswick - "For You"