Simple, good, old-fashioned, horse-sensed, musical R&B structure plus foreplay-oriented lyrics, sweet, beautiful melodies and Geno Williams’ laid-back, trademark vocals are what this album is all about. Satisfaction guaranteed by R&B songs like So Good and Remember Falling in Love or the Hiphop influenced I Want You , Go AHead and Go Ahead (Pt.2), which are great choices for chill-downs. Also plain yet sweet and beautiful are the keyboard sounds in the album. What about the rest?
I was very excited about listening to this last offering by Club 803, entitled “Cloud 9”, after reviewing their 2009 “The Addiction” album. That album had authentic ‘soul’ feel and a groundbreaking attitude that gave it a special sonic aura not to be found in modern R&B orientated releases. You may find better sung or better produced neo-soul albums than “The Addiction”, but you will be hard pressed to find as much creative spark contained within beats and vocal deliveries than the aforementioned album. This all led to one thing obviously. Club 803 created a ground-breaking precedent and elevated my expectations to an extremely high level with each passing moment.
Let’s be honest, quality-wise, “Cloud 9” is a better, clearer and crispier production than “The Addiction”. And this general rule applies to all the beats as well as the vocals. Secondly the songs are enjoyable and the titles I mentioned at the top of the page plays testimony to this statement. “Cloud 9” is a great hip-hop flava’d R&B album, period. So why am I just a little disappointed?
Again, to be honest I am not truly disappointed. If this was Club 803’s debut album, I would be reasonably thrilled with a lot of work on it. It’s just that the talents of Geno Williams and Daraja Hakizimana set the creative bar extremely high on the previous album. They took their sound left-field of R&B and Hiphop, they inflated it with steaming-hot retro soul sounds and added trippy electronic influences. Regardless to whether you liked it or not, the creativity on “The Addiction” was undeniable.
Instead, on “Cloud 9”, Club 803 has chosen to walk a well-treaded R&B-Hiphop crossover path. It’s a trusted, safe and sound, and they do it well enough, but it is not what I was expecting from these musical ‘mad-hatters’. Not after the brilliance, at least to my mind, of “The Addiction”.
That said, if you haven’t heard the previous album, just disregard the comparisons stated above and enjoy “Cloud 9”, for what it is, a cool standalone R&B-Hiphop crossover album that will absolutely satisfy listeners who thrive on this sound. It has a great production by Daraja Hakizimana, including the standout track Keep It Cool (Instrumental) and the usual good vocal deliveries by Geno Williams on most tracks.
Me? I’m waiting for the next album. I know what Club 803 are truly capable of delivering in terms of creation, innovation and neo-soul sound design, and it goes way above just making cool music. They themselves raised the bar, so no doubt, they will measure up!
Club 803 OFFICIAL LINKS: