Hymns (LaFace Records)
By: Sylvia White
In my personal opinion Corey Glover will always be a truly magnetic vocalists. The former lead man of the early 90's black hard rock band, "Living Colour" (L.C.) has come into his own...finally! It may have taken awhile to get to this point but Corey, I guess, took his time and wanted to do it his way. On "Hymns", his first solo project since his split with the band is an album that should give his former L.C. fans something to hang onto and a piece of work that Corey himself should be proud to market. I being on of his L.C. fans was absolutely thrilled to catch a spot of he and The Family Stand on BET a few months back. His performance on that show gave me chills, he still had the vocal chords that drummed and drilled into each note he exclaimed. When I found that he was now signed with LaFace Records (strange I know!) I was even more glad and when I heard a release date for his new album I was totally enthused!
On "Hymns" Corey has managed to merge rock, folk, soul and gospel onto one musical plate and has left it to the listener to chose which portion to taste first, on a few occasions he mixes them all together into a big ole pot of harmony. He still has some of that hard rock phlavor that gave him an audience in the early 90's, but between the harsh guitar pics and amplified bass and crashing drums Corey made time to take on a bit of folky effects with his slower, more seducing tracks.
On "Do You First, Then Do Myself" there is a take on his former sound of hard edge rock but even with the hard rock elements he still has a gospel vocal technique that forces you to listen. This track is really reminiscent of Lenny Kravitz and his former anthem "Are You Gonna Go My Way", which in my opinion was so tight that I still find myself seduced by the chords and instrumentation.
My favorite track and the one that lead me back to Corey based on the BET spot was "April Rain". There are strong folk effects to this one along with hints of Prince's modest honesty of "Purple Rain". From beats that rise and fall to subtle strings and then onto thudding drums it is simply gorgeous, not to mention Corey's strength and ability to make any song an almost religious experience. This song really showcases what makes him one of the best male vocalists of my generation. I love it!
"Little Girl" is a more bluesy-folk-soul quality. It sounds a great deal like some of the classic soul we use to hear out of the likes of Al Green. It is such an easy song to take in and simply reel with. The ending segment which leads into a more gospel choral vocal once again shows why he chose to title this album "Hymns". Another favorite!
On "Hot Buttered Soul" Corey does it so sweet and sassy that I just melt. He is fabulous! On "Things Are Getting In The Way", Corey gives us a little of his "down home" sound. It even has a harmonica that lines the background, reminiscent of my musical genius/mentor Stevie Wonder. On "One" I am not even going into this track! I have one word......FABULOUS! Strings, guitar, drums, vocals.....BEAUTIFULLY HONEST!
"Only Time Will Tell" is a slower tune with R&B/Soul phlavor but still that powerful voice drowns out any question to what genre to cast this tune! Another favorite. The final and most somber tune, "Silence" is a song in which he delves into the problems of a relationship and the silent elements that sometimes drive those involved into corners. It is a easy track that is maligned with guitar strings and gentle drum beats. A very nice ending to a really well-rounded album.
"Hymns" get a strong 5 from me. It is one of the better albums of the year in my opinion. I think that Corey has a piece of work that should push him into levels of high praise from critics who may have felt that he was "just a voice". Pick it up if you enjoy a smorgasbord of genres from soul to rock to folk. Corey, you are still tha' man!