By Jennifer Ariola
From the first song, I was immediately drawn into this album and felt as if I had jumped in a time machine and traveled to the ’70s.
Stratos Bleu is the newest album from the British musical group Smoove & Turrell, a duo including Jonathan Scott Watson and John Turell. The style of music they play is self-named “Northern Funk,” which is a blend of soul, hip-hop and feel-good funk.
Stratos Bleu is an album filled with upbeat, fresh and funky tunes. When I first began to listen, I expected a ’70s funk album; instead, I was pleasantly surprised to hear a wide variety of sounds, instruments
and types of songs. On one hand, the song “Do It” is whimsical and a song that brings joy and a desire to dance. The song is encouraging listeners to live a care-free life and not to overthink your choices in life. Just like this song does, the majority of the album incorporates the theme of “we.” The album is very inclusive and promotes people coming together and focusing on love and other positive aspects in life.
On the other hand, a song such as “Never Wanted You More” is a more vulnerable song that takes on subjects on the serious side. This track could almost be described as suspenseful with the use of ambient techno, mysterious music and slow instrumental parts. An electronic side is introduced about forty-five seconds into the song and creates anticipation towards the chorus, unlike the gleeful songs. Within this song, Smoove & Turrell discuss someone who they care deeply about and create a feeling of hope for a relationship desired.
“Talk about Nothing” is a mixture of the two songs mentioned above. The sound is slow-paced, but uses sympathetic, inclusive lyrics as he talks about being someone to lean on and again uses the theme of “we.” The song expresses compassion towards helping people when they are in desperate times and is simultaneously bringing joy like “Do It” was able to. I would put this song in a playlist with John Lennon’s famous “Imagine” as well as “Hands of Time” by Kraak & Smaak.
Stratos Bleu tackles both ends of the lyric spectrum; hard hitting lyrics either promoting personal issues or world issues and optimistic, fun-loving lyrics. As for the musical aspects, Stratos Bleu is successful at incorporating funk, soul, hip-hop, techno and jazz. The bass, keyboard, saxophone and drums create a perfect sound when mixed with the techno and light, refreshing sounds.
You won’t be bored listening to this album because no two songs are exactly the same. I recommended this album to music lovers who listen to The Bamboos, Breakestra and people who have an old soul with a taste for ’70s music with a modern twist.
Featured image retrieved from Smoove & Turrell.