CD REVIEW: Amarachi - All or Nothing (EP)
by: Cyrus Rhodes
Album: All or Nothing (EP)
Label: Independent Artist
Genre: Dance-Pop, Soul, Blues, earthy Hip Hop, Crossover Fusion Jazz .
Sounds Like: Amy Winehouse, Adele, Duffy, Donnie Bromfield
Technical Grade: 7/10
Weakness: EP release, No Barcode, No Liner Notes, No release date
Nigerian born Amarachi just released her latest 5 Track EP entitled “All or Nothing” in 2014. Amarachi possess a unique flair and has gained experience from the ultra-hip New York modeling scene. She began singing t the age of 9 and was nominated for 12 Brit Awards.
The CD kicks things off with “Certified Criminal” a hooky intro groove that delivers slamming slow burning rhythm section painted against mesmerizing vocals, all built on an impressive earthy-acoustic foundation that peaks and valleys its way through to emotional fruition. Track 2 “I’ll be Ok” keeps things moving with it's a catchy bluesy guitar groove that delivers inviting vocal harmonies, against a grand slam chorus and sporadic percussive accents. I especially like the acoustic guitar solo on this track. Track 3 “My Man” delivers yet another impressive track with its impressive melody, heartfelt lyrical content, painted against infectious unplugged vibe. The EP makes a good first impression delivering 3 compelling tracks in a row. If you like artists comparable to Amy Winehouse, Adele, Duffy, Donnie Bromfield you will definitely enjoy this CD. I would classify this music as Folk, Dance- Pop, with traditional Soul and a dash of earthy Hip Hop elements. Also present ambient Rhythm Blues and even a bit of Singer/Songwriter and even Fusion-Jazz crossover. Much of the music also has a nice flowing Psychedelic Mo-Town feel to it prevalent in the 70’s.Despite this it's quite amazing how refined Ararachi sound really is - very diversified and marketable. Amarachi has a good look. I especially like the vocal work on this production - very methodical, powerful, infectious and melodic. I also like the conservative “unplugged” musical approach – very earthy and organic. Note for note, song for song it will definitely keep you entertained with lush layers of melodic instrumentation layered along the way with effective harmonies, acoustic guitar, solo guitar, bass, and sporadic percussive accents sprinkled along the way. Kudos goes out the amazing acoustic guitar licks. The arsenal of musical tidbits Amarachi and her band brings to the table is impressive. The feel and groove they lay down collectively is the strong suit of this production, and its obvious Ararachi is a capable composer, songwriter, vocalist and overall entertainer. If this gal can dance it's all a deadly combination. All songwriting consistent and rock solid across the board. The harmonies and melodies are well placed and well crafted. All the Engineering aspects are in check (Recording, Mixing, and Mastering) as the CD possesses solid low end punch and crystal clear high end clarity. Ararachi's voice and personality matches this style of music perfectly – passionate, heartfelt and sometimes pushing hard with much in the way of soul and infectious vocal swagger. I especially like the vocal risks Ararachi takes along the way. She definitely knows how to let it all hang out vocally with enough soul to go around. She has an impressive Mezzo-Soprano delivery showcasing impressive power, control, pitch and finesse. I like her vibrato. From upbeat “Things You Do” to melodic Bye. Bye, Goodbye” this 5 Track musical teaser has something for just about everyone.
I typically deduct 1 star for EP releases. The full length CD is the best snapshot to judge an artists at any given moment of time. There is no barcode on the flipside of the CD indicating to me a retail non-compatibility. I like the conservative approach but I wish there was a bit more instrumentation present, especially acoustic instrumentation Things like Piano, Ska-Horns and Flute for example. To go with this last comment - there's also no drum kit on the entire alum. It's amazing what they were able to accomplish with just percussion instruments. There are no liner notes whatsoever within the 2 panel insert indicating who the behind the scenes personnel were I/E Engineers and musicians. There is no release date anywhere on the CD package. Some of the aforementioned issues are not typical of Gold Standard musical releases.
From start to finish “All or Nothing” by Amarachi is a strong musical statement from start to finish and proves she is a contender, not a pretender. The music is highly melodic, entertaining and packed with many powerful emotions. The writing creativity and overall entertainment appeal of Amarachi is clearly an artistic force to reckoned with. Cyrus Rhodes