Graffiti 6: Stone In My Heart EP
Graffiti 6: Stone In My Heart EP
Also In The News
By Rob Wheatley.
Monday, 22, Mar 2010 05:12
NW Free Music, out now.
What's it all about?
Stone In My Heart is a four-track EP from house-funk duo Graffiti 6, intended to "test out" their songs on the public before the debut album, anticipated later this year, is officially released.
Who's it by?
Tommy D (all-round producer, writer, DJ and arranger who has worked with Kanye West, Jay-Z, Janet Jackson, Kylie, and, erm, Right Said Fred) has teamed up with Jamie Scott, of Jamie Scott & the Town fame. What Tommy D brings in exciting hip-house beats, Jamie Scott more than matches with delightful melodies and powerful vocals that demonstrate not just a modern take on, but also a genuine respect for, the classic soul giants. You may well have already heard Stare Into The Sun by the group in adverts for the Sun newspaper.
As an example...
"With a stone in my heart I stood up and love was gone... it makes me stronger, it makes me wiser." - Stone in My Heart
"I was hopin'/I'd never open/My heart again, then there was you/After everything that I've been through/I still fall for the starlight in your eyes." - Starlight
Likelihood of a trip to the Grammys?
It's hard to imagine anything other than extremely bad luck keeping this volcano of talent from our airwaves - and from there, who knows where their funky beats and roaring melodies could take them. The fact that James Murdoch himself insisted upon using Stare Into The Sun for the Sun's advertising campaign - never before has the paper used an unsigned act - suggests that Tommy D and Jamie Scott have stuck upon something with very hot commercial potential, as well as being musically delicious.
What the others say
"Graffiti 6 have set the bar very high indeed... it's polished, it's almost perfect, there's not a bad song on here." - Popped Music
So is it any good?
Is it good? It's bloody wonderful. Being a fan of modern soul music and discovering Stone in My Heart is the musical equivalent of being an eight year old and stepping outside to find it raining Haribo.
Tommy D is consistently masterful, keeping the irresistible, catchy choruses like that of Stop Mary from dragging the project too far to the commercial right of centre by propping it up with edgy, urban beats, while the pair's knack for knocking out top-notch melodies keeps the slightly purer house tracks like Stone in My Heart from losing any commercial appeal.
The almost eerie Foxes, with its subtle melody, humming two-tone bass, and strange zooming background noises, sets the mood for slightly more sophisticated psychedelic pop, and hints that the forthcoming album might include a few more heavyweight offerings than the bulk of this EP would suggest. But while Foxes stands out as the most multifaceted track, each of the other songs has something - in fact, several things - of their own to offer.
Stone in My Heart somehow reinvents 70s soul, urban house music, and funk, all at the same time - bringing the occasional whiff of camp to the table, too. Always tasteful yet defiantly raw, rarely has paying homage to the vintage classics been so original - or so much fun. The gorgeous melodies and even the basic skeleton of each song are so brilliant its hard to believe they're not Motown or Stax samples - but impressively, they're all written by Tommy and Jamie. (Believe me, I checked the credits several times, absolutely convinced I would find, somewhere, a tiny note admitting that they had been nicked from Freddie Perren or Holland Dozier Holland. There was nothing.)
There are occasional moments of true soul grit - such as Jamie Scott's rather beautiful yelping on the middle bridge to Starlight - but mostly, as the duo say themselves, the music is more about "feeling good" than anything else. Claiming that they don't make music to be analysed (whoops - sorry guys, but it's my job!), their songwriting policy is simple: "When we start with a song," says Tommy D, "we've no idea where it's going to end up. As long as it makes us feel good, we go with it." And that's definitely proving to be a winning formula.