Published May 07, 2019Building on the markedly old-school feel of her previous album, Soul Run, singer Tanika Charles stays rooted in classic soul, rock, and funk on her second effort, The Gumption. In an interview with Exclaim!, Charles hinted at a new fire within herself ("with this album, I thought 'I'm not going to take any shit'"), and she indeed flaunts her attitude on songs like "Look At Us Now" and the political "Upside Down."
But there are times when Charles holds back when she could stand to pack more of a vocal punch. For instance, on album opener "Tell Me Something," Charles sounds slightly subdued. That same reservation peeks through on "First & Last."
Musically, The Gumption speaks to a bygone era, with its clean guitars, screeching church organs and tidy background harmonies. The melodies are simple and infectious and overall, the album has an air of innocence that, while starkly different from today's more sullen soundscape, is a perfect fit for Charles' honeyed vocals. The Gumption's chaste, feel-good vibe is most apparent on the sugary "Dans les Nuages" and the toe-tapping "Remember to Remember."
Restrained moments aside, the album is a solid effort whose continuity will appeal to fans of Charles' past work. (Record Kicks)