With the recent successes of Mark Ronson, Pharrell, and, sadly, Robin Thicke, much has been made about the return of soul music as pop music. Certainly, this is true, yet soul music has never really gone away, with many independent artists and groups creating great music that has simply gone amiss of the mainstream. One such example is that of The Serafinos, a collection of musicians assembled by bassist Marco Meniconi, who has overseen the creation of a great new soulful album entitled We Will Be Fine.
The whole album fits into the mould of the Memphis soul style of Hi-Records, the label responsible for the success of Al Green and Ann Peebles; indeed, the tight drum sound and rhythm arrangements, coupled with actual horn players is a delight. The album opens with a great song entitled ‘Hand on Heart’, which has the horns blaring from the get go, setting the pace for the rest of the album, and introduces the main vocalist on the album Hayley Williams who handles her leads with ease and sophistication. Newcastle Student Radio is also represented on the song, with co-Station Manager Tom Payne throwing down some tasty guitar work in the bridge, helping to make the song one of the best on the album.
Another highlight is the title track, which sees Williams delivering another impressive vocal, combined with another superb horn arrangement accompanying the incredibly tight yet funky rhythm section. The track impresses further with the Rhodes solo of Spencer James, laced again with those horns, with Williams riding the track well with her vocals. The next track takes the album up a further notch; ‘Don’t Make It All About You’ is a sassy number that Williams delivers feistily, making it another standout.
Not all the vocals are led by Williams, on one of the albums slower cuts, ‘Better the Devil…’, Rietta Austin handles the lead, and does a very good job in ending the album on a softer, mellower note. The song itself is well written, and, again, is well arranged, particularly with a quieter, subtler horn arrangement, giving the track beauty and depth, making it a perfect closing number.
Marco Meniconi and his collection of musicians and collaborators have delivered a sophisticated and well-produced soul record that would not look out of place in any soul connoisseur’s collection. As announced on their website and their Facebook page, Meniconi is working on the next Serafinos album which will be “quite a difference” from We Will Be Fine, and I’m looking forward their next offering.
The Serafinos ‘We Will Be Fine’ is available to purchase now on CD and digital download through MGP Records. For more information visit www.theserafinos.co.uk
This article was originally published for nsrlive.co.uk on January 15th, 2015.