Cool Million - Back for More (2010)

Cool Million
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While we've been talking recently about adult soul artists bending over backwards to sound hip and modern, no one can accuse European dance production team Cool Million of falling into that category. The duo of Frank Ryle and Rob Hardt not only stay true to their classic dance roots on their new, appropriately titled disc, Back for More, they unflinchingly issue an upbeat collection that would have sounded completely at home in 1985.

While we've been talking recently about adult soul artists bending over backwards to sound hip and modern, no one can accuse European dance production team Cool Million of falling into that category. The duo of Frank Ryle and Rob Hardt not only stay true to their classic dance roots on their new, appropriately titled disc, Back for More, they unflinchingly issue an upbeat collection that would have sounded completely at home in 1985.

Cool Million turned a lot of heads with their 2008 debut album, as they convincingly captured quarter century old dance sounds and threw in surprisingly strong songwriting to deliver an extremely enjoyable disc that seemed happily out of place.  And Back for More is an equally strong disc and perhaps even more notable because of its impressive cast of contributors.  Classic soul stars like Meli'sa Morgan, Eugene Wilde, LeRoy BurgessPeggi Blu and long lost soul man Al Broomfield join together with a newer generation of international R&B singers, and they all sound great fronting the upbeat, electronic wall of sound created by Cool Million.

Back for More would be worth the price of admission if only for Wilde's great take on the title track, a cut that sounds like a long lost Kashif smash. The track is uber infectious and Wilde nails it vocally, as he does on the Alexander O'Neal/Cherelle-like duet with his sister Dee Dee, "Loose."  Not far behind are funk workouts by Burgess ("Cool to Make a Million"), Morgan ("Sweet Baby") and Rena Scott ("Come to Me"). Among the newcomers, Aussie beauty Jeniqua deftly handles the adult midtempo, "Making Love," Paul Mac Innes delivers the horn-filled number "Back Together" and Chicago's Yvonne Gage is wonderful on "Hurry Home."

Borrowing liberally from the styles of Kashif, Jam-Lewis and Leon Sylvers III, some of the material on Back for More has a bit more form than substance. But even at a heavy 16 songs, this disc is way more wheat than chaff.  Ryle and Hardt move to the head of the class of adult dance producers with Back,  an unqualified smile-making ride back to the upbeat funk sounds of the 80s.  They may not be going for that "hip and modern" thing, but Cool Million will undoubtedly be providing great listening and a dance workout for folks in the clubs throughout Europe (and hopefully here in the States) for the rest of 2010...the old fashioned way.  Recommended.

By Chris Rizik

 
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