Tony Momrelle - Fly EP

Tony Momrelle
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Tony Momrelle has been described as one of the most exciting and significant soul singers on the British music scene today. Praised by critics and genuinely elevated to a higher standing than most, Momrelle has become something of an aficionado with devotees in the most far reaching of places. It was the legendary Stevie Wonder, no less, who once surprised the honey-voiced singer with a telephone call during one of Momrelle's sell-out tours with British Acid-jazz outfit Incognito, heaping praising on both the group and Momrelle's gilded voice.

A sought-after singer, Momrelle has toured the world with an impressive list of top draw artists from Celine Dion and Janet Jackson to Gwen Stefani and The Brand New Heavies, in between contributing his vocals to recordings by the likes of the late Whitney Houston and soul-jazz chanteuse Sade, who featured Momrelle on her 2010 Grammy nominated, "Baby Father."

Tony Momrelle has been described as one of the most exciting and significant soul singers on the British music scene today. Praised by critics and genuinely elevated to a higher standing than most, Momrelle has become something of an aficionado with devotees in the most far reaching of places. It was the legendary Stevie Wonder, no less, who once surprised the honey-voiced singer with a telephone call during one of Momrelle's sell-out tours with British Acid-jazz outfit Incognito, heaping praising on both the group and Momrelle's gilded voice.

A sought-after singer, Momrelle has toured the world with an impressive list of top draw artists from Celine Dion and Janet Jackson to Gwen Stefani and The Brand New Heavies, in between contributing his vocals to recordings by the likes of the late Whitney Houston and soul-jazz chanteuse Sade, who featured Momrelle on her 2010 Grammy nominated, "Baby Father."

As featured singer with Incognito, Momrelle eventually took the reins as lead vocalist (following the departure of Xavier Barnet), making his official debut on the groups 2006 album, Bees + Things + Flowers, an album that featured covers of such classics as Roy Ayers’ "Everybody Loves the Sunshine" and Earth, Wind and Fire’s, "That's The Way of The World." Momrelle's recruitment to the enduring and popular group no doubt enhanced his reputation, exposing him to a much wider audience and joining a list of Incognito singers that includes Carleen Anderson, Maysa Leak and Jocelyn Brown.

With two solo albums under his belt, Momrelle strides into the limelight once again and his presence is certainly a refreshing change, a contrast to the generally female-dominatedUK music scene   And doing it via an EP is a great way for Momrelle to not only test the waters but also keep his name in the public eye while working on the next full-length project. 

Fly is a musically generous offering filled with the occasional cool cocktail of slinky Acid-jazz and hustling soul shuffle.  This sound melds with Momrelle's bright, breezy and optimistic voice, placing him somewhere between a young Stevie Wonder and Jamirouqai frontman Jason Kay. There is a danger however, that the penetrating and percolating style of this much lauded genre can sometimes verge on similarity, a trait that rears itself here. But Momrelle confidently demonstrates that he is an artist with a clear vision and a sound that highlights his more than appealing, but sometimes quavering vocal style.

Helming Momrelle's effort are an assortment of producers including Momrelle himself, who has either written, or co-written Fly’s seven tracks. Opening with military precision, the title track brings a splash of crisp tight drums, but Momrelle's frantic scats sound rather cluttered as if he's trying to display his eggs all in one basket. Far better is the smooth and floorless "Spotlight," itself worth the price of admission here. One of the most significant and classy releases in British soul for quite some time, this hypnotic, piano-laced gem is a shimmering dancer showcasing his almost tear-stained, and sometimes mournful voice to creamy perfection. Just as compulsive is the funk-laden "Get on Up," with its strutting guitars and multi-layered backing vocals, that deserves repeat plays despite the slightly outdated drum programming. Scorning distain on Momrelle's musicality almost makes you feel as if you are committing the ultimate sin, especially considering his standing in UK soul circles. But that foreboding feeling soon disappears with the saturated emotion of the rather beautiful "Everything's Alright," with it's all-too-short guitar sweetenings. The acoustic laced and simplistic "Here It Is" strays, albeit briefly, from the overall jazz-funk setting, revealing Momrelle’s sparse and stripped down, but slightly strained voice on the song’s chorus.

Tony Momrelle is certainly a gifted singer whose emotional commitment to his music is undeniable. With a deep feeling for a lyric, Momrelle is clearly on a mission to uplift and accentuate the positivity that life has to offer with a style of music he clearly loves the most. While Fly leaves me wondering what glory we would behold if he chose to dip his honey-drenched voice in a straight up soul or R&B record, it is an album worthy of the praise thatStevie Wonder bestowed and is another feather in the cap of this talented young singer.. Recommended 

By Garry Moran 

 
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