The Guardian from London, Greater London, England on July 18, 1997 · 41
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The Guardian from London, Greater London, England · 41

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London, Greater London, England
Issue Date:
Friday, July 18, 1997
Page:
41
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18 1 Music The Guardian Friday July 18 1997 forget the rat race spirit of rcfaxation Leave the stress of modern living behind with a chilled-out collection that brings together sounds from the natural world and ambient, creating a serenity to sooth the mind, bod and soul. Qstentntt on virgin Rstening posts between 2IJtdy and 3 Aug BIBHBBlBK'lBBBBBBaBaBMaBKiflaBBaBaBBlaaaaBaHal This immortal foil the intergalactic heroes of pop, soul and funk are back. By Dan Glaister Elemental Earth Wind & Fire In The Name Of Love (Eagle Records) 14.49 Shiny trousers, pot bellies, costume changes galore and that was just the audience. The appearance of a reunited Earth Wind & Fire at the Royal Albert Hall two weeks ago provided proof, if It were needed, that the seventies are not only back, but are Just as stylish and tacky as they seemed at the time. If there was one group that seemed to have the blueprint for seventies stylish tack, it was Earth Wind A Fire. The tack came in the grandiose stage shows, with spaceships and rockets taking off and landing to disgorge members of the band with alarming regularity. It was so ahead of its time that the King of Pop Is till doing it In stadiums around the world today. Afros, Baeofoll clothing, laser beams galore; the group even used a Darth Vader lookalike or was ft really Wm? In one of Its shows. But If the concept an Intergalactic disco mission to save the world by preaching love and harmony was trademark tack, the musio was pure style. Between 1073 and 1979, EWF produced a stream of ' . hits backed by a handfiriof great albums. Watching the reamed and sllmmed-down nineties Incarna tion ofthetand perform to a crowd of the devoted faithful. you kept thinking that this must be a covers show. Boogie . Wonderland, After The Love Has Gone, Let's Groove, Shining Star, Fantasy . . . could all these songs really be by the same bandT It Is inspirational music. Filed under the derogatory label of disco for much of its early life, the Importance of Earth Wind A Fire's music Is more apparent with the benefit of hindsight. Rather than being a covers band, EWF have provided the inspiration for much of the best soul, funk and pop of the past 15 years. The new album carries on where the best work left off. This Is no franchlsed bunch of session musicians cashing In on an established brand name, but the real thing. In The Name Of Love sees the group's founder Maurice White reunited with Philip Bailey, the singer who provided the key part of the band's singular sound. At the Albert Hall, Baileys falsetto was In hair-raising form, drifting from mellifluous soul to something close to opera. Behind him, the rhythm guitar of Sheldon Reynolds chugged away, while behind Mm the three-piece brass section punched out lines with warm, caring aggression. Those elements are present on the new album, as is the songwritlng skill that pervaded the earlier successes. EWF have the knack of the hook, Verdlne White's dirty funky bass giving way to sublime choruses. George Clinton, the Ohio Players and Prince all come to mind as Influences on this lot, but perhaps they are the ones doing the Influencing. This la a scorching album which puts most of the pretenders to their throne firmly In their place. There are a handful of obvious singles, from the funk of the current single Revolution, to the Joyous soul of Fill You Up. The band's original members, never ones to rest on their laurels, are to be praised for breathing new life Into a legend that could so easily have been left well alone. Break out the Baeofoll.

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