Beast – Yolanda Arrey (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Yolanda Arrey is proof that the world is a small place. So small in fact that musical styles and cultural inspirations are free to mix and clash and create at will, to fuse and confuse, to find new balances and new forms as people move around the world living their lives. Genre and geography are no longer demarcations or challenges and perhaps we have entered a truly post-genre, sonically inclusive world. At last.

And if that is the case then Yolanda Arrey is the perfect example of what that new and heady brew might sound like. Beast is the sound of western pop music being enriched by West African spice, of Motown grooves being driven by tribal beats, of gospel-infused vocals returning to their primal roots.

Beast is a place where worlds collide, both real worlds and figurative ones. For every slice of western tradition, the bluesy moves, the soulful sass, the slick R&B sounds, the pop poise, you can hear its darker, older, deliciously dangerous origins coming to the fore. And the result is a fantastic piece of R&B meets pop but one which will drive the listeners to move in time to a much older dance, whether they realise it or not.

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