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Meshell Ndegeocello - Devil's Halo (2009)
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Meshell Ndegeocello - Devil's Halo (2009)

29-10-2015, 09:43
Music | Jazz | Soul | R&B | Rock

Meshell Ndegeocello - Devil's Halo (2009)

Artist: Meshell Ndegeocello
Title Of Album: Devil's Halo
Year Of Release: 2009
Label: Mercer Street Records
Genre: Neo Soul / Rock
Quality: MP3
Bitrate: CBR 320 kBit/s
Total Time: 36:51 min
Total Size: 104 MB


01. Slaughter
02. Tie One On
03. Lola
04. Hair Of The Dog
05. Mass Transit video
06. White Girl
07. Love You Down
08. Devil's Halo
09. Bright Shiny Morning
10. Blood On The Curb
11. Die Young
12. Crying In Your Beer

On three of her last four recordings, Meshell Ndegeocello has showcased her aesthetic restlessness, expanding her musical horizons to jazz, hip-hop, and the far-flung reaches of rock as well as funk and soul. On Devil's Halo, she focuses her vision deliberately on a dozen soulish, near-pop, rock tunes. Recorded by S. Husky Höskulds, it's stark compared to her last three albums. Ndegeocello plays bass and sings backed by guitarist Chris Bruce, drummer Deantoni Parks, and keyboardist Keith Ciancia, with guest appearances by Oren Bloedow, and Lisa Germano.
Desire haunts all the songs on Devil's Halo, beginning with "Slaughter," its opening track. Ndegeocello sings slowly, softly, deliberately, without a hint of irony: "She said she loved me/I ran away/ Don't say you love me/I'll run away..." The refrain explodes with guitars, bass, and vocals in a shattering crescendo: "...My love will leave you slaughter..." Romance, substance abuse, and one woman speaking candidly to another are themes in this musical meditation on bliss, lust, loneliness, and emotional wreckage, which are inseparable when the amorous is even considered, at least in Ndegeocello's world. "Lola" begins with the lines: "She drinks until she passes out/on the floor..." then erupts with a series of double-timed breaks to underscore confusion: "The boy she loved/left her for another girl/The girl she loved/left her for another boy..." A staccato explosion from Bruce's guitar engages her bassline in an instrumental bridge that Frank Zappa would have loved. "Mass Transit" is funkier, a bit more aggressive from the outset with Bruce's guitar leading the way, though Ndegeocello's bassline offers an alternate read on both melody and rhythmic pulse. Her voice is a soft croon despite the music's aggression, and it keeps the tune grounded in the seductive. "White Girl" may be the straightest pop song Ndegeocello's ever written, but its bassline is strictly dubwise. The vocals are smoky and elliptical, they create their own chorus in reverb and in the singer's deliberately stretched-out phrase, all around a very simple, hooky melody. The title track is a nearly ambient instrumental, with Ndegeocello playing harmonics on her bass in the mix just underneath a snare and kick drum barely outlining the time signature. Bruce paints it gingerly with his chord voicings. "A Bright Shiny Morning" is a gorgeous if lithe rocker, while "Blood on the Curb" is a more soulful, spacy rockist number with Ndegeocello's voice barely crooning above the heavyweight instrumentation, though she practices dynamic restraint. The album ends with another ballad, the brief but startling "Crying in Your Beer" with Bruce playing a spidery banjo as well as guitar atop Ciancia's ghostly keyboards and a skeletal bassline. It's an atmospheric tune, made taut by the words: " Sometimes, I forget where we are/Sometimes, I forget we're in love/Don't let me/die alone...."
Ndegeocello can always, it seems, quite literally articulate her musical vision, but she hasn't been so nakedly vulnerable and brazenly honest on record as she is here. She remains musically mercurial and virtually unclassifiable, even if she is at her most accessible on Devil's Halo. -- Thom Jurek DOWNLOAD DOWNLOAD DOWNLOAD

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