Vocalist JINADU and producer KIRK DEGIORGIO first collaborated on the AS ONE album "21st Century Soul" (Ubiquity) in 2001.
Both have worked mainly in the electronic dance genre - recording for a wide range of labels from Mo' Wax to Bitches Brew.
The Beauty Room came about through continued collaboration, with Degiorgio sending Jinadu sketches of songs with increasingly unusual progressions. Jinadu worked his magic enhancing them with catchy melodies, hooks galore and layers of rich harmonies.
The Beauty Room marks a notable stylistic shift for both Jinadu and Degiorgio. A debut single - a deft adaptation of Jan Hammer's 1977 song 'Don't You Know' - was recently released on Parlophone's Vanity Projects offshoot and whilst it may have been a typically teasing Degiorgio hors d'oeuvre, its in the shape of a self-titled album that The Beauty Room present their full, lavish feast.
Opener "Soul Horizon" sets the tone; its lulling acoustic guitar intro presaging a phalanx of harmonies which usher in a melodic reverie of a song that could be a gently billowing outtake from the first Crosby Stills & Nash album. It's a languorous intoxication that continues as the album gathers its own mellow pace.
Everywhere Jinadu's harmonies weave, glide and plunge around the rippling guitars of (fellow Peacefrog artist) Ian O'Brien, marble smooth keyboards courtesy of Tom O'Grady, Chris Whitten's crisp but discreetly funky drums and Degiorgio's babbling electronic undercurrents.
"Holding On" is a deft, soulful Fender Rhodes ballad with a chorus that sticks like superglue; "The Weight of the World" nods to The Beach Boys at their most transcendent, while "Shades of Yesterday", with Degiorgio adroitly taking care of vocal duties, is an intimate, hypnotic confessional, with a redemptive, orchestral refrain.
There's an undeniable sense of timeless urban sophistication at play here. Indeed, this album most readily brings to mind those high priests of the cerebral groove, Steely Dan. What The Beauty Room achieve here is a similar blend of sharp-creased strut and spiritual meditation, all of it laced with plenty of that most essential yet undefinable alchemical element, soul.
Fans of singer/songwriters such as Joni Mitchell, Neil Young and the whole late sixties/early seventies West Coast scene, should also be hastily marshalled toward this beguiling distillation of downtempo eloquence, for while the overall mood is smooth and mellifluous, this is by no means lightweight music - far from it.
There are lyrical stones into the millpond tranquillity of a track like the string-propelled Burn My Bridges ("I retreat to your agenda / my resistance now confounded.") or the beguiling Visions of Joy ("Sometimes you'll try to tear off your disguise, revealing something new / The image you once loved, the lies you thought you knew."), proving that while this is undoubtedly music to chill to, its certainly not aimed at those with either heart or brain in the deep freeze.
Warm, human and - as you'll have guessed from Degiorgio and Jinadu's chosen band moniker - spaciously beautiful. The Beauty Room will take you on a journey past wonderfully familiar landmarks to a place you've never quite seen before.
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