Updated: Oct 19
Stax of soul music on Roachford's latest
“I've been drowning in a world of madness, just trying to keep my head about the darkness” the opening line on Roachford's new album describes the world we find ourselves in. Thankfully music is a fine healer. High on Love, is a no holds barred way to open his new album, Twice in a Lifetime. It's an instant radio-friendly blaster of a track, shining a bit of light in these hard times. Love Remedy quickly follows with a similar feel and evidence that the hitmaker still has what it takes to write astounding songs.
The album is with honest reflections of love and loss with wall to wall Stax sounds, elegant grooves, snappy brass and some of Roachford's strongest keyboard playing. His light touch on the keys subtly punctuates every track with a smooth soul sound that's both refreshingly modern and comfortably vintage. Give It Up and Let It Go and Are You Satisfied? Are two excellent tracks that fall straight into this ballpark.
It's not only his keyboard playing that is emboldened on the album, but his vocals have just as much energy. While he always saw himself as a musician who sings, his vocals dominate every track – they are vital and synonymous with his music. Just listen to The Truth Hurts Too Much and Gonna Be The One to hear how he layers his vocals for maximum emotion.
When it comes to vocal perfection, you can't get much better than the Queen of British Soul – Beverly Knight, who appears on What We Had. It's a tender song that so nearly hits the mark but feels like it's missing something in terms of a bigger build and is fractionally too short. As a result, the track leaves us wanting more from both Roachford and Knight. It would have been interesting to hear Knight lend her vocals to another song on the album. Their voices blend so perfectly, it's certainly proof that these two fine musicians should do a full-scale collaboration.
Twice in a Lifetime proves Roachford's longevity as a powerful contributor of British soul music and is certainly one of his best albums.