Mojo (Publisher) (p.98) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "There's some strong original material.represented by the disco-fuelled Chic homage 'Sweet Freeek,' and the upbeat, euphoric 'We Live For The Summer.'"
Personnel: Dawn Joseph (vocals, background vocals); Simon Bartholomew (guitar); Jim Hunt (saxophone); Daniel Carpenter (trumpet); Jan Kincaid (keyboards, drums, percussion, background vocals); Andrew Levy (bass guitar).
Audio Mixer: Toni Egonomides.
Recording information: Baker St Studios, London; Club Ralph, London; Lever St Studios, Manchester; The Deptford Dungeon Tower; The Room at the Top TW3; Universe Studios, London.
Photographers: Amit ; Naroop.
Aging gracefully and doing what they do best, the Brand New Heavies certainly are Sweet Freaks as their 2014 album says, although that's "sweet" as in "delightful" and "freaks" as in the "home at a reasonable hour" variety. A reasonable hour if it's a school night, anyway, since the opening "Sweet Freeek" blares through the speakers with that Friday disco flavor, introducing vocalist Dawn Joseph as their newest, "permanent" frontwoman, and in an atmosphere where the spirits of Chic and Kool & the Gang fly about. Banging out an up cover of Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer" is clever and charming, but it's the closing take on En Vogue's "Don't Let Go (Love)" that brings the weight, as these veteran funkateers stretch the song's drama like Isaac Hayes did on a '70s soundtrack. Stuck in the middle are some fine, lean numbers including "Bring the Rain" (bouncy, joyous hook), and "Get On" (forceful, like the Gap Band in their prime) alongside some nostalgic ballads like "'95 Tonight." Singer Joseph makes the two-album arc from 2013's Forward!, and the benefit is chemistry, and even if these heavies aren't as brand new as they once were, calling them the "Same Old Heavies" is no insult because these reliable, tasteful party people continue to deliver. ~ David Jeffries