Somewhere between the soothing jazz-inflected soul of Sade and the catchy dance rhythms and hooks of Deee-Lite lies the eclectic sounds of the Rurals. This married musical team from the British countryside continues to make some of the most cosmopolitan slices of electronic soul on the market. Picking up where their 2005 release A Rural Life left off, Marie and Andy Compton’s Nettle Soul is an even tighter set of down-tempo delights and deep house booty shakers.
The Rurals are skilled in both of those styles and switch between them with ease, whereas many artists shine on the up-tempo tracks only. The mellow saxophone-fronted “Get It Right” is a beautiful track that floats by on an ethereal cloud of bass and lush instrumentation. Vocalist Marie can coo with the best neo-soul diva, and her remarkably restrained performance here is among her best. The house track “Up to You” is all sing-along verses, deep bass and funky percussion recalling the days of Lady Miss Kier.
The album is a perfect blend of live elements and electronic effects, but the live aspect jumps out. From wailing sax solos to rapid-fire percussion, the eleven tracks here (the last two are remixes of A Rural Life‘s “Relax Your Soul” and “Addict”) will appeal to jazz lovers but have enough kick to keep things danceable. And those anxious for the next Sade album may find that Nettle Soul fills the void.
“Feels Real Good” MP3
“Get It Right” MP3
“Up to You” MP3