Friday, January 14, 2011

Royal Peeps: Alessia's Walk

Words By J-man

"Alessia's Walk marks the begining of a new way of creating music, while thinking about life as a musical instrument," Cristian Basso told me.

"The inspiration for Alessia's Walk came from a couple places. Most importantly it came with the birth of my daughter, Alessia, who became the catylist for the emotion and creation of the music and lyrics. The album was being recorded in a time of my life when I also wanted to write and produce a record with a group of musicians that I had been performing with live and who I respect, both musicially and personally. Capturing this moment in time was intentional gesture of love for my family and friends," he stated.

From the first few funky notes, it's clear that there was a focus on production. The clean horns, bass and keys suck you right in, then enters Ty Taylor's R&B style vocals. From the get go, I think the vocal production/effects leave something to be desired. It's not to say that they aren't fitting to the music, it just takes the music in a very simple/conformed direction. Following a majority of the vocal lines were very impressive solo sections, that took the music to new heights. Only to cease for additional vocals, which in them self become repetitive and redundant. Songs like "Have No Doubt", "Apple Face (Blue Skies)" and "Supersonic" offer a brighter and more fitting Range/tone for Ty's vocal lines.

The instrumentation, specifically the solos and melodies are impressive and fitting to the genre of music. CR Gruver's Hammond and Wurlitzer parts were full and groovin'. His fills and general use of effects were very intuitive and tasteful. Cristian Bassos's bass playing is strong and funky. His ability to hold down the low end in conjunction with his tonal exploration, make him an extremely versatile bass player. The combination of Cristian's bass and Darren Pujalet's (Particle) drumming create an interesting dynamic, and a groove that is next to impossible not to move to.

Johnny Janowiak and Ron Haynes contribute some essential horn tracks. Together with Leo Nocentelli's rhythm guitar they mold that true funk sound. I thought that Cristian's lyrics were solid and meaningful. One can tell that "Alessia's Walk" came at a crucial point in his life, both personally and as a musician. However my favorite track on the album came without lyrics. "Caring For a Stranger" offered some of the most interesting and explored notation of the album as well as the beautifully unique vocals of Kandace Lindsey.

To say that one should immediately purchase "Alessia's Walk" would be a stretch. But, it offers some interesting ideas, excellent production and proof of the creativity and talent of Cristian Basso and the Royal Peeps. This being their first studio album, there is much room for growth, but the album itself is a great stepping stone and hopefully a preview of a little bit of what's to come from the Royal Peeps.


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