Chocolate Genius Incorporated - Swansongs

Marc Anthony Thompson’s fourth album as Chocolate Genius Incorporated is soulful, dreamy and stunningly beautiful. Thompson’s mellow voice melts its way into your subconscious and he has developed a knack of combining a vocal in low register doubling the same part as one in his upper reaches. This trick can be heard on 'Like A Nurse' and 'How I Write My Songs', the highlights of this collection and it adds an unsettling edge to what might otherwise become far too syrupy. Five other songs are similar in style and had the entire ensemble been in the same vein it would have been too easy to dismiss the whole thing as a chilled romantic album – nice enough to have on in the background whilst you’re concentrating or more worldly pleasures.

However, there are four songs quite different to the others which break the album up a little: 'Enough For You' and 'Ready Now' with their gentle blues, 'Mr Wonderful' giving snatches of spoken telephone conversations over electronic backing and the almost shocking 'Lump'. In this one, Thompson seems to have channelled the spirit of a Huey Morgan afflicted by Tourettes.

Sit down and listen closely - as some of the lyrics certainly merit - and you’re left at the end thinking you’ve just experienced the musical equivalent of shoe shopping with your partner. “We’ve been here for half an hour / you’ve shown me some lovely styles / Some of them very different but all of them suit you / Now I just wish you’d make your mind up which one you want ….”

Overall

6

out of 10

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