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Divinity Roxx – ImPossible – Album Review

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The people behind pop music rarely get enough attention and recognition, that goes double for bass players. Divinity Roxx has earned a name as musical director and bassist for Beyoncé, bassist for B.o.B., and playing in front of President Obama to name a few. The latest record, ImPossible, finds her once again stretching her solo talents and pushing out some amazing bass-driven funk-pop that certainly proves how much you can accomplish with just a bass and a knack for pop.

The sad voicemail that starts “Miracle” gives a dark opening to the album’s funk-driven pop. “Break Down These Walls feat. Anhayla” opens on some heart-wrenching piano and even more rapid vocals from Roxx. The track epically builds to its intense chorus full of vigor and powerful drumming.

Roxx let’s loose another prolific bassist groove on “Can It B SO Hard feat. Victor Wooten” where bass fills and solos give the song a rare energy. The track mixes dark riffs with catchy reggae choruses to make a truly one-of-a-kind tune. “Stinger (So Real)” runs on a sturdy bass line, guiding the song well on its own. The chorus mixes catchy lines with dark lyrics to craft an ambivalence few artists are willing to try.

Clacking drumstick create a sense of urgency on “We Are” and Roxx does her best between her voice and bass alone to build the energy to her catchy solos. The added instrumentation to the final chorus section of the song is subtle and effective but unfortunately the last chorus does overstay it’s welcome by the time the song ends. “The Book” provides a quick little break, full of jazz guitars and some sultry lo-fi vocals.

There’s a fun call and response on “WhachaDoiNWhereUATWhoUWit feat. Derrick Baskin and Daniel J. Watts” that mixes into harmonies later in the track for even more playful vocals. The horns sound like a slow jam take on a James Brown horn section, and the rap solo by Watts is a great surprise. The driving keyboard riffs of “Question feat. Derrick Baskin” are a little disorienting, but they become background noise up next to the delightful harmonies and bass grooves. The lyrics like many on this album are wonderfully personal and feel genuine on every line.

Roxx’s bass pedigree is obvious on the stellar riff of “Let U Go” which is so funky it has Shaft overtones at times. The bass turns up the funk hits on the chorus where it does more work than the rest of the band combined. “Hey U feat. Daniel J. Watts” finds Roxx taking a back seat for Watts’ spoken word discussion on racial issues. The background vocals from Roxx and the arrangement she provides for Watts leaves a great groove for him to rap over.

Just When U Think feat. LD” drives on a killer bass riff, matched a great chorus of child singers. Roxx’s vocal sections are fast and vicious and the verse from LD are a deliciously playful throw to universally accessible issues of adulthood. ImPossible ends on the Spanish-flavoured “I Like It feat. Yani Marin” with the authoritative vocals of Marin and Roxx’s non-stop attack of vocals playing to the beat hard. The instrumentation creates a seductive groove to move to and every time the guitar jumps on the riff the attitude jumps up a notch.

DivinityRoxx Ian Frank Photo

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