Sarah Linhares Messages From the Future

Sarah Linhares Messages From the Future
This is a big release for the venerable PTR label. At one time they were known as one of the true torchbearers of Toronto, ON groove. Moonstarr has been headquartered in Montreal for some time and the debut long player by Sarah Linhares is emblematic of a good deal of what's going on in the 514 these days. Moonstarr takes a few turns on production, proving as able as ever to marry no nonsense breaks with effortless polyrhythms on "Step Up." "Dirty Business" integrates a bit of "Get Up, Stand Up" in a rhythm that nudges against dancehall. Psychedelic hip-hop producer KenLo Craqnuques reins it in a bit, to great effect, on the spooky "Move Along" and the slow, deep "I Get Scared." Camplaix provides the most conventional R&B settings, though with much futuristic bounce. Through it all is Linhares's multi-layered voice, which moves from lush harmonies to more unsettling voicing, often several times within a song. She's not a conventional big-voiced soul singer and there's a reedy sharpness to her natural tone that sometimes grates. However, she and the producers find a wide variety of ways to showcase her songs. Overall, this is a success. (PTR)