Published Aug 25, 2008It seems like years since we first heard about Beyoncé's younger sibling, Solange Knowles, but what became of her? well, she starred in Johnson Family Vacation with, er, Cedric the Entertainer and Bow Wow, and of course, the third Bring It On film, All Or Nothing, co-starring alongside Heroes' whale saver Hayden Panettiere. And how could we forget her 2003 debut album, Solo Star, when clearly no one bought it, let alone knew it was ever released. So yeah, her CV doesn't quite live up to her sister's...
But I get the feeling things are about to change - a little. Tomorrow Solange's second album, the incomprehensibly named but surprisingly awesome Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams. Described by the 22-year-old as a "'60s/'70s vintage soul record with hints of electronica," apparently Solange changed directions entirely after discovering artists like Zero 7, Justice, Björk and Boards of Canada while in Europe. Hell, she even got Mark Ronson, best bud of Amy Winehouse and producer for Lily Allen, Robbie Williams and Estelle to oversee the album's "6 O'Clock Blues."
But the song that should get the indie and electronic heads wagging their fingers in disgust or perhaps nodding their heads in delight is "This Bird," a track that samples Scottish duo Boards of Canada's "Slow This Bird Down" (from 2005's The Campfire Headphase). Notoriously shy from both the public and the press, Boards of Canada (aka Michael Sandison and Marcus Eoin) are one of the last acts you'd expect to allow a mainstream artist to borrow a sample, however, here it is.
For all of the experimentation that goes with using production by BoC, "This Bird" isn't as radical as one might expect it to be. In fact, it's not far from something you'd hear from Morcheeba back when they released their debut. Solange is much more expressive than a trip-hop singer, and much to my surprise, BoC's contribution is pretty subdued. It isn't anything to get up in arms about really; if there's anything to get fired up about, I think, it would be that she didn't pick a song with more personality, like "Turquoise Hexagon Sun," "Smokes Quantity" or "Alpha and Omega" from their library.
While it doesn't top a lot of the excellent Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams - especially a Girls Aloud-ish banger called "I Decided (Part II) and the "Bacharach-esque "Dancing in the Dark" - it still is Beyoncé's kid sis coming into her own, by singing over Boards of Canada. I'm willing to bet that both Mr. and Mrs. Sean Carter don't even own a copy of Music Has the Right to Children between them (I know, that's just plain crazy). If anything, the younger Knowles can boast a cooler record collection (and a better second album) than her big sister.
Solange "This Bird"