ReLoVe are great at fusing music from what might be termed world and roots genres and using those sonic building blocks to build their signature sound. This time out they give us Voices which blends funky basslines, soulful harmonies, busy drum salvos and folky fiddles. As always the individual elements are recognisable but the way that they are woven together creates something wonderfully new. It’s fresh but it’s familiar, it’s forward-thinking but it knows where it has come from.
But the real power of ReLoVe’s music lays in their lyrics. As always, they deal with the power of God in our lives and even if you are not particularly religious or follow a different faith, there is still plenty to be gained through its message. Perhaps call it destiny or karma, the power of the universe or a godhead, there are forces at work in the world that are beyond our understanding and it is this that Voices is concerned with.
More than concerned, this is a real celebration. A celebration of the guiding voices which in moments of quiet and reflection can be heard between the bursts and background noise of the modern world, “heaven’s symphony,” playing out to provide inspiration and guidance for those who know how to hear.
One of the problems that ReLoVe comes up against is the fact that the band make music so infectious and so accessible that perhaps people don’t contemplate the lyrics as much as they should, although, as problems go, it isn’t a bad one to be faced with. The songs might be fun and full of energy but lyrically they are powerful and poignant too. And Voices is the perfect example of the band’s ability to live musical life to the full whilst offering lessons, of how they can come across as being poppy and fun but also have a serious message at the root of their music.
Voices is groovesome and graceful, funky and slightly frenetic, addictive and adventurous. It leans into a soul and gospel sound and is also melodic and full of poised pop moves. And lyrically it is redemptive and reassuring but delivers its message with the lightest of touches. They say that in the beginning was the word…but I bet the groove wasn’t far behind it.
For some, the term devotional music comes with a lot of, fairly earnest, connotations but ReLoVe is the sound of modern devotional music without any of that baggage attached. They make music with broad, even mainstream, appeal, that is contagious and cool and which mixes and merges all manner of sonic styles into a unique and unmissable sound. And if the message isn’t for you, no matter, you are still left with the most groovesome and genuinely fun songs around.
Everyone’s a winner.