Seattle's Choklate is relatively unknown, but that needs to change. This singer/songwriter's impeccable self-titled debut announces her as a major new player in the soul scene. Choklate is well-crafted soul packed with uplifting lyrics, gritty vocals and excellent production.
Choklate's vocals have an earthy quality, making it easy to relate to her, and the growl beneath her voice aims for the heart. Many of the songs speak about the power of love and God, self-motivation and the nature of music. "Waitin'," featuring Charli2na of Jurassic 5, offers up advice for those on the path to stardom: "Don't you mistake the detours for shortcuts/'cause you just might end up taking the scenic route." Choklate constantly provides visual soundscapes through her lyrics, weaving stories and images that speak to the spirit. Uplifting gems such as "Long Way" and "Bigger Than You" paint a picture of the singer as positive and God-loving, and "Gettin' Is Good" reveals a tougher side, one that has been hardened by the streets. Production-wise, the album has a live feel, with chunky drums and percussion dominating the sound. Things are mostly upbeat, but even the slower tracks have a constant groove and flow that allows the album to be played straight through. The sound is classic yet modern and sample-free.
Choklate is the sort of record that stays in your player for weeks because of its endless layers and complexities. For those who like real soul, this one can't be beat.