Love & Conflict – Martha Wash (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

You might not know the name but you’ve heard the voice. Even if you don’t realise it. As a Weather Girl, she helped give us “It’s Raining Men,” working with C&C Music Factory she was responsible for “Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)” and with Black Box’s album Dreamland, she added four number ones and three top 40 positions to her reputation.

Love & Conflict sees her returning with a slightly different sound. It’s the sound of her embracing a more mature sound, one which shifts from high-octane dance to a more soulful groove. There are moments of energy, such as Don’t Forget My Name and Never Enough Money but here, she is more comfortable mixing more considered pop moves with a sultry soul sound. But it is perhaps the less-is-more tracks which are the real charmers. Soaring Free is a gorgeous sonic slice of slow-burning grandeur and Flowers Blossom is a graceful, gospel-infused anthem.

Love & Conflict is the perfect album for those who loved what she did back in the day but want something that better suits their age, though that isn’t to say that it is the perfect album to pick up a new, younger set of fans. But the main thing that this album proves is that Martha Wash has still got what it takes. Not that there was ever any doubt.

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