I am a soul man. Always have been and always will be and I can’t get through the average day with injecting some of the sonic splendour of Stax or Motown or any of a hundred other lesser known labels. Canadian songstress Tanika Charles, whilst of the present than the past, still draws heavily on the truths and sounds of those bygone days to provide the driving force for her new album “The Gumption”.
“The Gumption” is more than just a pastiche, however, with enough fresh touches having been added to remind you that these songs are indeed sounds of the present. For example, that testifying approach to a song so beloved of southern soul icons is used by Tanika Charles to positive effect in many of these songs yet this is an album that tells more than a just another story already oft told. Likewise, the northern soul stylistic touches found in “Love Overdue” and “Upside Down” feel like more than just an attempt to cash in on the eternal popularity of the yesterday’s dancefloor moves and it is, as your ears will confirm, a mark of musical class to show reverence and respect to the greats of the past yet still make it seem relevant to today. That is what Tanika Charles does so successfully with her album.
On the money for soulful sounds, Tanika Charles has proved herself to be a genuine talent in a genre that has, too often in recent times, been in the possession of pretenders.
Best Song? The old school truth that is “Since You Been Gone”.
The verdict? Tanika Charles tells it like it is.