Lenny Kravitz

Raise Vibration (Deluxe Edition)

(Roxie/BMG)

The quirky musician/singer/songwriter/lensman/designer returns with a new set of compositions. This is an artist who seems to avoid rehashing past successes yet many of his records strike a chord with the public and become performance favourites.

Starting cut We Can Get It All Together eases into earshot gradually, then we hear a plaintive Kravitz vocal over a Hammond-topped stomping beat, underpinned by throbbing bass – by LK as is most of the instrumentation on this number – it sounds spirited and spiritual, an entreaty on a coasting melodic cadence. Try not singing along, albeit in my case two octaves below. Slivers of wah’d guitar embroider the core track.

Low keeps things steady and simple, the cooing bv’s recalling The Impressions, as does the clipped rhythm guitar. Lenny never lets us forget that his message remains one of Love, Peace and Unity. If he considered himself a bearer of the torch lit by Gil Scott Heron And Curtis Mayfield this would in no way be wrong. On to Who Really Are The Monsters? which to these ears sounds like a firm nod to George Clinton. Its warped funk and you almost expect Bootsy Collins to Appear! Raise Vibration the title track exhibits a choppy insistent vibe, Kravitz singing along with his stabbing guitar. The drums arrive, heavy on the bass drum. A stately space-funk passage starts and it’s like a hymn from the galaxy, then suddenly we are back to the stop-start theme.

Johnny Cash really does sound like Bootsy’s Rubber Band as it commences, then a beautiful Lenny vocal sounds over an acoustic guitar strum that exudes peaceful and thoughtful by the bucket. It’s worth acquiring the album to own this recording alone. The strings and wah guitar are a gorgeous listen, trust me. Next up, Here To Love rolls in over piano chording, unity is preached and yes in a time of social and actual physical conflict. The likes of Bozo would have completely overdone this.

It’s Enough grabs a Caribbean groove and gets motoring – sure sounds like a set-starter to me, young man ! Kravitz does this rolling funk much better than most.

5 More Days Til Summer is a crisp rocker with neat percussion, Lenny sings of a hard life in a factory and the yearning for freedom. The chorus works a treat and this will be the favourite song here, for many. The Majesty Of Love is all syncopation and itchy guitar, veering towards Talking Heads in feel. It’s a strong composition, reminding me of War with its well-recorded bass riffing. Gold Dust uses rich harmonies engineered with aplomb by Craig Ross. The song isn’t one of this artist’s best and the tempo is a tad rickety. Ride has an attractive acoustic Neil Youngish pace and maybe the best singing in this programme. The song is a winner and again the bass motifs contribute a lot. I’ll Always Be Inside Your Soul end the collection with some rhythm-boxed bedroom beats and a soft and relaxed vocal. Maxwell fans have to hear this one.

With a firm grip on a palette of tempo’s and using his voice to maximum impact, this is surely Kravitz on top form, with three or four absolute winners.

Pete Sargeant

 

 



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You can watch the official music video for the track 'Low' in this article.

Lenny Kravitz's new album 'Raise Vibration' is out now on Roxie/BMG on various formats including Standard CD, Deluxe CD, Vinyl and Download.

For more information visit his official website here: http://bit.ly/2xyFWMT