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A blog for Seattle music lovers of all stripes, from hip-hop and indie rock to jazz and world music.

September 10, 2013 at 5:30 AM

‘Now, Then and Forever’ by Earth, Wind and Fire | New CDs

earth wind & fireEarth, Wind & Fire, ‘Now, Then & Forever’ (Legacy)

Fans of Earth, Wind & Fire may fall in love with the Grammy-winning soul, funk and R & B band’s first studio album since 2005, “Now, Then & Forever.”

The album is chock full of romantic, falsetto-voiced ballads and thumping, horn-laden dance tunes, each connected to uplifting cultural and spiritual themes. “Are you tired of this insanity? Time to unite and make it right,” Daniel McClain and founding member Philip Bailey sing on the first track, “Sign On.”

Vocalists McClain and Bailey, who along with co-founders Verdine White (bass) and Ralph Johnson (percussion), lead a seasoned cast of musicians on an album that rekindles the band’s classic sound, exemplified by such past masterpieces as “September,” “That’s the Way of the World,” “Boogie Wonderland” and “Let’s Groove.”

Standouts on the intoxicating 10-track album include the silky “Law Is Law” and “Guiding Lights,” the sultry “Belo Horizonte” (named for that very musical Brazilian city, capital of the state of Minas Gerais) and the high-spirited “Night of My Life.”

The shimmering “Splashes” (featuring Larry Dunn on keyboards, synthesizer and Moog Voyager; and Terence Blanchard on trumpet) evokes the imagery and beauty of swimming dolphins.

Other new releases

Keith Urban, “Fuse” (Capitol Nashville)
Sheryl Crow, “Feels Like Home” (Warner Bros.)
Arctic Monkeys, “AM” (Domino)

Comments | More in R & B/Hip-hop, Rock/Pop | Topics: Earth Wind & Fire, Philip Bailey

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