Soul Basement - Yesterday Today Tomorrow

Soul Basement
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Fabio Puglisi wanted his latest project, Yesterday Today Tomorrow, to have an intimate feel. So, he decided to arrange the album’s eight tracks in that most personal setting: piano and voice. That is a departure in some ways for Puglisi’s collective that goes by the moniker of Soul Basement. I was introduced to Soul Basement when I reviewed the 2007 album The Awakening of the Heart. That project featured a steady helping of R&B, set off by funky tracks such as “A Little Love” featuring vocals by Marlon Saunders.

There is one commonality between Yesterday Today Tomorrow and other Soul Basement projects, and that is the presence of a guest vocalist. In this case the producer and keyboardist pairs with singer Zeljka Veverec on Yesterday Today Tomorrow’s eight tracks.

Fabio Puglisi wanted his latest project, Yesterday Today Tomorrow, to have an intimate feel. So, he decided to arrange the album’s eight tracks in that most personal setting: piano and voice. That is a departure in some ways for Puglisi’s collective that goes by the moniker of Soul Basement. I was introduced to Soul Basement when I reviewed the 2007 album The Awakening of the Heart. That project featured a steady helping of R&B, set off by funky tracks such as “A Little Love” featuring vocals by Marlon Saunders.

There is one commonality between Yesterday Today Tomorrow and other Soul Basement projects, and that is the presence of a guest vocalist. In this case the producer and keyboardist pairs with singer Zeljka Veverec on Yesterday Today Tomorrow’s eight tracks.

Veverec’s voice is suited for the minimalist arrangements featured on the album. Several of the tracks stand out. “Confusion” finds Veverec trying to work through the conflicting emotions caused by the apparent waning of her lover’s love for her, and her efforts to attempt to figure out whether or not she should try to work it out or leave. Her soprano vocals endow the lyrics with both vulnerability and frustration. “You know how I feel/How I want to feel for you/But lately you’ve been changing and making me so blue/Lately your looks are distant/And your touch is so cold/That smile you used to have looking at me/Now it’s gone/Love me/Accept me/You can’t me to choose right away/Gonna take my time and choose go or stay.”

Puglisi’s vivid and emotionally strong lyricism and Veverec’s intimate vocals remain constant throughout Yesterday Today Tomorrow’s eight tracks. “On The Corner” uses the image of a flower growing through concrete as a metaphor for how relationships can adjust to difficult situations and still manage to grow – even if they must also change.

If the project has one weakness, it comes in those instances when Puglisi employs a digital percussion to accompany his piano playing, such as the tracks “Away” and “Something That Has Never Been Said.” This comes off as subtraction by addition as the rhythmic device gives these otherwise solid songs a cheesy lounge act quality.

Fortunately, Puglisi sticks to the less is more strategy on most of the tracks, and that gives his listeners easy access to Veverec’s intimate vocals and the producer’s simple but smart lyricism. Yesterday Today Tomorrow is another solid addition to the growing, always enjoyable discography of Soul Basement. Recommended.

By Howard Dukes

 
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