Article By Deejay.de
A heady cocktail of Chic-style funk-pop, sunshine grooves and scorched soul balladry, the release of TBNH on September 6th sees The Brand New Heavies writing a new chapter in what has been an illustrious journey whilst also marking a return to their spiritual home, Acid Jazz Records.
Today The Brand New Heavies share a breath-taking version of Kendrick Lamar’s These Walls recorded with long-time associate and vocalist N’Dea Davenport and produced by uber-fan Mark Ronson. It was that line-up of the band that had originally brought the funk into his life having caught their show in New York in 1991, later inviting them to play at his 40th birthday party. Insistent once more to reconvene that line-up, successfully reuniting N’Dea and The Heavies for his production of this track for their 30th-anniversary album.
The album’s heart, both musically and physically is a friendship that can be traced back to the mid-Eighties – more specifically the shared experiences growing into adulthood on the western reaches of London for Simon Bartholomew (guitar) and Andrew Levy (bass) and a return to the formula that saw the band score sixteen Top 40 hits and three million album sales.
Refined, reimagined and revisited, TBNH was recorded under the watchful eye of producer Sir Tristan Longworth, as Andrew elaborates; “as fathers of young kids, time was important, and we needed someone to crack the whip.” Adding further with a grin; “he also makes these amazing gin and tonics with chilli’s in. The pair also decided to feature various vocalists on these tracks, not only reuniting with Heavies alumni, N’Dea Davenport and Siedah Garret but collaborating with soul legends Beverley Knight and Angie Stone alongside current singer Angela Ricci and new boy on the block, label mate Laville – to present a gilt-edged collection of songs making arguably the best album of their career. Summed up by its cover artwork- shot in the suitably louche environs of ultra-hip nightspot Annabel’s – Simon explains with a smile; “It’s a bit clubby, a little bit sleazy, with a bit of luxury and a smidgen of street.”