Smooth Soul and Dancefloor Funk on Gizelle Smith's new album Ruthless Day
After attending the launch party for Gizelle Smith's new record, Ruthless Day, we were already sold on her sound. The funk and soul songstress has now released her album on Jalapeno Records and it's a real corker...
Ruthless Day has a balanced mix of heartfelt, personal soul, the title track discusses mental health and Gizelle Smith's experience with it, and upbeat grooves like 'Scared of Something' that contain plenty of fun, prominent parts for the horn section. Smith presents an open and friendly personality whilst singing about topics that are relatable, plus she loves a big night out by the sounds of it on 'Twelve'; Gizelle Smith highlights that she simply wants to 'stay out all night, because it feels good' - preaching to the choir here, does anyone need a better reason?
Kicking off the album with 'Dust', you can hear the northern soul influence in Smith's sound and style with the Motown type horn sections, along with some Isaac Hayes-like bass riffs that heavily encourage your inner air musician to whack out some moves. There's also a cracking version of the track which has been remixed by, our favourite French DJ, Dimitri From Paris and Cotonete - the song translates seamlessly into a disco dancefloor filler.
Smith also features Eric Boss twice on her album with 'Hero' and 'S.T.A.Y.', both stand-out tracks. These two songs are a throwback to soul duets of old like Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. There's a gospel organ bouncing around with a playful bass on 'Hero' and some even nicer keys (going slightly improvised and getting a chance to show off) on 'S.T.A.Y.', it's also got a cracking drum breakdown towards the jazzier outtro.
The drums across the entirety of Ruthless Day receive a welcomed boost, similar to the 60s foundations of the genre, where each instrument in the funk numbers have prominence and don't get lost in the background. 'Love Song' is sprinkled with some baby-makin' percussion and a 70s blaxploitation film score vibe, with that signature "wah-wah" funk that builds on the horns and slows into a gentle breakdown.
The vocals are strong throughout this record and there are some gorgeous harmonies on tracks like 'Amen', which is an excellent outtro to Ruthless Day. Smith sings that she will "Keep on doin' my thing" on this last track, well we sure hope she does because this album is full of some damn fine funk and soul. Jalapeno Records have a great ear for talent and Smith is just another perfect example of their musical repertoire.
For some of the latest releases in the world of funk and soul, head over to Jalapeno Records - they've got you covered.