Keep Reachin’ Up


Nicole Willis is fantastic. She’s my new fake best friend. Hypergroovy, kinetic 1960s soul, like souffles and spoken word, is so easy to do poorly. But Nicole Willlis is on some proper, proper next ish…Girlfriend even has a press and curl to make reluctant blipsters like myself wanna break out the hot comb something fierce.

After stints with the acid-jazz, baby-doll dress-friendly Brand New Heavies, which is still clearly a major influence in her sound, she’s been putting stuff together with the Soul Investigators. They appeared on Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood Bubblers comp last year and they’ve got some tracks on their MySpace to eff with you but you’ve got to get the album and listen to the whole thing and play that mess out like you ain’t got no sense. “If This Ain’t Love” and pitchers of Thug Passions are gonna get me through my single, stank-ass summer (Boys are…ugh…yeah). 

There’s a lot of “hot buttered soul” or whatever hokey catch-all phrase you wanna use but I don’t think you kids understand what’s happening here. It’s 2007 and Willis has found a way to squeeze out the Motown label from the snappy kick and epic orchestrations that characterize 60s soul music.

And while it’s retro, it’s not played.  Certainly there are some “hoo-hoos” and beehive grooves we could do without but my people, for the most part, Nicole Willis and Soul Investigators have found the light.  Rarely do I pick up an album sight unseen, no recommendations, no co-signs from a particular scene with fairly inaudible buzz and simply fall in love with it.

So if you need a fake best friend this summer, I suggest these chillun right here. They’re obviously down for the movement.


3 Responses to “Keep Reachin’ Up”

  1. johnsville Says:

    hummm. might have to burn that one form you.

  2. connykate Says:

    You’ll have to pry it from my cold dead hands first.

    Or until my attention is diverted by something shiny and chicken-scented.


  3. Lady Half Breed Says:

    it’s about time somebody reached for a hot comb.

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