Blood Red

The Groove Kings

Visual Music, 2009

REVIEW BY: David Bowling


Every once in awhile I grab the independent music brass ring, and so it was with the Groove Kings.

The Groove Kings are not your typical independent group. They consist of songwriter, producer, and instrumentalist Howard Forman, plus vocalist Irene Marc. They have had a couple of commercially successful albums in their native Canada, a top twenty hit, a nationally televised concert, performed and recorded with my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Cirque De Soleil and been nominated for two Canadian Academy Awards.

They have been a duo since a chance meeting at a club in the early ‘90s and have learned their craft well over the years. Blood Red is their latest release and it is one of the better albums that have recently come to my attention. The production is crisp and clear, the songwriting has a depth and creativity, plus Marc’s vocals are powerful with good tone. It all adds up to an enjoyable affair.

They are at heart a rhythm and blues duo, although they spread out in a pop/rock direction upon occasion. This stylistic variety, as well as the constantly changing tempos and types of material, keep the music interesting and the listener engaged.

The title song introduces the album by settling into a low key groove. Marc’s vocal reminded me of fellow Canadian Alannah Myles who had a huge hit in 1990 with “Black Velvet.”  Her style here is sultry as she croons about the realities of love. “I’m The Rain,” which is the album’s outstanding track, comes right out of a smoky lounge: “Open your windows up wide, all my lovers get wet, but they never forget, feeling satisfied.” Her vocal on “So Real To Me” just soars above the music.

They turn up the heat with a couple of brass laden tracks. “Real Love” is up-tempo rock with a wonderful sax break. “Temporary Man” has a light blues feel with a subtle trumpet sound in support.

Blood Red is a solid affair from beginning to end. Hopefully it will be their breakout release and gain them some popularity south of the Canadian border.

Rating: B+

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© 2009 David Bowling and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Visual Music, and is used for informational purposes only.