Brenda Ray / Perfume Of The Soul / Emotional Rescue

Brenda “Beachball” Ray comes bouncing back with a terrific 10-track album, entitled Perfume Of The Soul. When Lady Ray first sent me the promo files, I said, “I don’t know what it is, Brenda, but you’ve definitely still got it” – not realizing that these are in fact archival cuts. Music dating from 1989-91, rescued from 1/4” tape. Bounty from the brains behind countless “cult” classics that have had Balearic militants Dancin` Thru The Night, doing the Shellfish Samba. From Naffi Sandwich`s post-punk dub to the truly, truly, wonderful, otherworldly Walatta, and super high quality collaborations with Aficionado, The Growing Bin`s Basso, and Phil Mison`s Cantoma.

The new “fragrant” collection covers ambient-washed conscious rap – hip-hop-influenced, sample-saturated selections, busy with horns and Blaxploitation boogie licks. Jive collages of `50s radio and movie dialogue. There’s sexy latin jazz syncopation and out there orchestration. In places the serrated cycling strings sound a little bit like Brenda’s Liverpudlian, Eric`s, contemporaries, Big Hard Excellent Fish.

Theme From A Tall Dark Stranger, originally recorded by Brenda, with The Beachballs, in 1986, makes a Return, in a beefed-up reading. Hypnotic, conga`d, tabla`d, kinda new beat clanking beneath its melodica and dubwise echo. There’s dramatic ZTT-esque disco drama, and happy, loved-up, pop house (please don’t forget that Mac Thornhill`s Who`s Gonna Ease The Pressure? is one of Brenda’s favourites) – packing a positive message: “Put joy in your heart.” All of it`s accompanied by Brenda’s gentle breathless whispers. Her unique production chops always seem to have these located somewhere actually inside your head. On Love`s The Most, she’s working her vocal voodoo, potent love potion purring, like Cosey Fanni Tutti applying her subliminal sighs to street soul. 

Digital is available now, directly from Brenda, with vinyl coming via Emotional Rescue. 

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