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Nicole Willis And The Soul Investigators: Keep Reachin' Up

Album: Keep Reachin' Up
Label: Light In The Attic

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Between Sharon Jones and Candi Staton, the market is awash in veteran soul shouters reaching out to the indie-rock generation. On Keep Reachin' Up, Nicole Willis takes her own approach to neo-retro R&B, informed by her origins in the '80s British pop scene. With her Finnish backing band The Soul Investigators, Willis blends a '60s "Northern Soul" sound with the jetset sophistication of The Style Council. The result can be occasionally flat and blunt, but the music generally cooks, and Willis' voice is so smooth and warm that when she gets to a slow, moody piece like "No One's Gonna Love You," she redefines the word "showstopper."