Published Sep 30, 2015Tamar Braxton's been in the music game for a quarter-century now, releasing singles and albums with her siblings the Braxtons (their 1990 single "Good Life" was Tamar's debut at the age of 13) and solo efforts like "Love and War." Yet despite her impressive vocal range and fine offerings, like 2000's under-appreciated Tamar, Braxton is still best known to reality TV fans thanks to the long-running series The Braxtons and its spin-off Tamar & Vince (a showcase for Tamar and her producer/husband Vincent Herbert), not to mention as a contestant on the current season of Dancing With The Stars.
Fourth release Calling All Lovers is a superior follow-up to 2013's hit Love and War. Although the album opens with the worst cut of its 14 tracks, the contrived, faux-dancehall of "Angels & Demons," things pick up right away with the bumping, new jack-flavoured "Catfish" and the poignant, Stax-influenced "Simple Things." "Broken Record" and "Circles" are classy ballads that Braxton pulls off with aplomb, while the uptempo dance groove of "Must Be Good To You" is a perfect match for Tamar's expansive vocals which exude charm and poise, especially on the steamy, red-light flow of "Makin Love."
Calling All Lovers closes with the elegant "Free Falling" and "King," both mature showcases for Braxton's sweeping voice that smartly avoid the bombastic. This is an impressive effort that should give even the most chronic reality TV-addicted couch potatoes impetus to put down the remote and give the youngest Braxton sister a serious listen. (Steamline/Epic Records)