Artist: Out of Eden
When it comes to Christian-based R&B and hip-hop acts, Out of Eden is among the elite few who’ve been able to successfully balance spiritual sensitivity, street credibility and superb production quality. Throughout the course of three best-selling ’90s releases and the trio’s last outing, "This is Your Life," the Kimmey sisters have provided fans with glorious harmonies, sharp-edged dance beats and songwriting that appeals to the churched and unchurched alike.
On the group’s latest effort, "Love, Peace, and Happiness," those goals are still apparent, while the sounds have been updated in some instances to match urban music’s current trends.
Such is the case of the potent title cut, characterized by its steamy R&B grooves, breezy beat shuffle and vocal tradeoffs between the three songbirds (falling in the Ashanti/ Beyoncé category). But, unlike its mainstream counterparts, instead of conjuring up steamy imagery or flaunting sexuality, Out of Eden focuses on praising God. Spiritual grounding also drives cuts like the militant “Soldiers” (a battle cry for believers to defend their faith), the snappy, Mary J. Blige-esque “Drama Free” (encouraging listeners to give problems to God rather than turning minute situations into calamities) and the tender-hearted “Shoulda Listened” (about a fallen girl who seeks forgiveness for her mistakes).
And as much as Out of Eden should be applauded for such relevant topical discussions, there are a few instances of sonic repetition that occasionally detract from the disc’s otherwise hopeful message. Take, for instance, the retro throwback to Michael Jackson’s early ’90s incarnation “Coulda Been Me” (which introduces stale snapping techniques over previously presented arrangements).
However, despite the occasional sonic misstep, new and long-term fans alike should enjoy the style and substance these sisters have to offer.
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