The Everlasting Energy of Love - LP
NIKI KING: THE EVERLASTING ENERGY OF LOVE ALBUM REVIEW – REFLECTIVE AND REDEMPTIVE JAZZ-SOUL
★★★★ Author: Neil Cooper (The List)
A record that feels otherworldly and from another time yet remains absolutely current
Niki King sports flowing white robes offset against a starlit sky in publicity shots for the Edinburgh-sired singer’s sixth album. If this image suggests a celestial awakening, the record’s title also hints towards personal and spiritual transcendence across a self-produced set of songs studded with strength and heartbreak. Set to a lush backdrop provided by a band with roots in Edinburgh’s criminally unsung after-hours jazz-soul scenes that King emerged from in the 1990s, the album’s 12 tracks show off the light and shade of love, life and everything that goes with it. This makes for an eminently grown-up collection that is by turns reflective, mournful and redemptive.
The opening ‘Soul Route’ is a horn-led statement of intent featuring a core of keyboardist Steven Christie, guitarist Aki Remally, double bassist Paul Gilbody and drummer Stuart Brown. ‘Dreamer’ charts the travails of attempting to navigate around a fickle music business in a song that becomes an anthem for persistence on a par with Sade’s ‘When Am I Going To Make A Living.’ All this is wrapped up by a string quartet arranged by Pete Harvey, harps and a horn section. At the record’s heart, however, is King’s voice, which remains rich, impassioned, determined and defiant.
King may be about to launch the record at Edinburgh’s Queen’s Hall, but it was clearly raised in the late-night melting pot of Henry’s Cellar Bar where she cut her performing teeth. This new opus also sits alongside the recent stream of releases by King’s capital contemporary and kindred spirit Joseph Malik. If The Everlasting Energy Of Love came out of Memphis or Detroit, it would be rightly hailed as a cosmic masterpiece and garner global acclaim. Close your eyes as you sink into its riches, and make it so.