Seva Hifi: Early (Sugarlicks)

 |   |  1 min read

Seva Hifi: Fiafia Dub
Seva Hifi: Early (Sugarlicks)

As a genre, Pacific Soul has some very credible ancestors, not the least being Grace (who seem largely forgotten these days) and the funk-influenced Ardijah.

Each generation will bring what they will to the encompassing style and so this trio -- Baz Suamili of Niuean heritage, Fijian percussionist Levani Vosasi and Lebanese-Kiwi producer Gmuva -- pull threads of reggae (Fiafia Dub is here), moody urban textures (the throb of Kafisi Niue) and funk (the exotic sounding Til I Make You Move and lightly stepping Let the People Move featuring Isaac Aesili of Opensouls and other bands/collaborations) together. Although there is sometimes a smoothed out warmth which feels restrictive.

There are other influences at work also, and while this is a likeable concoction, there are times -- Prodigal Son comes to mind -- where this is just too polite and measured for its own good. You yearn for Seva Hifi (Seva from, among other sources, the Niuean meaning laid back) to let loose with something more edgy and assertive.

The slightly creepy The Sound of Music opens with a mesmerising groove but lets it get away as it dissipates into distant vocals. It's return reminds you where we once were. And the hip-hop look back on Just the 80s seems like both an opportunity lost and transported into this context from somewhere else entirely.

But with their soul and Pacific roots, the mix of traditional instruments like log drums with trip-hop electronica, and some seriously strong hooks (Starting Up), this debut sounds like a band loaded with promise once it finds a more clear direction.

As the album title says, this is "early".

Like the idea of this? Then check out this.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Old Crow Medicine Show: Tennessee Pusher (Shock)

Old Crow Medicine Show: Tennessee Pusher (Shock)

Reviewers have struggled to label this Nashville-based outfit, but they certainly sit somewhere along the contemporary bluegrass (new-grass?), alt.folk/country Americana axis with nods to old time... > Read more

Hallelujah Picassos: Rewind the Hateman (HP/Rhythmethod)

Hallelujah Picassos: Rewind the Hateman (HP/Rhythmethod)

In one of the liner note essays here Ross Cunningham says when he first got a copy of Auckland band Hallelujah Picassos debut album Hateman in Love he kept playing it because "it sounded like... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

The Skatalites: Anthology (Primo/Southbound)

The Skatalites: Anthology (Primo/Southbound)

This 35-track double disc pulls together essential Skatalite material alongside work that appeared under the names of some the group's members (Rolando Alphonso, Baba Brooks, Don Drummond, Tommy... > Read more

MILES DAVIS AND QUINCY JONES AT MONTREUX: The circle is unbroken

MILES DAVIS AND QUINCY JONES AT MONTREUX: The circle is unbroken

It was emblematic of the soul rebel career of Miles Davis that in his final years he was painting as much as he was playing, had a cameo spot in a movie (Dingo) playing a pre-electric period... > Read more