Monday, April 11, 2011
The 1sl3y Br0th3rs - Betw33n Th3 5h33ts (1983)
Although the original classic lineup had fractured somewhat by the time this hot tamale rolled on down the assembly, Between The Sheets is still arguably the last classic album to emerge from under the Isley Bros. umbrella. It arrived at a pretty good time too - MJ and the commercial monster known as Thriller had opened up the door through the 80's for all sorts of slick sounding contemporary soul/funk to bust through the underground and make radio somewhat bearable. Some artists from the 70's even managed to snag new audiences in the process.
That aside, what does this particular record have to offer besides "dated" synths and lyrics that don't invoke any kind of stimulation beyond what lies below the belt? How about mouthwatering guitar work, some great grooves and that distinctive Isley vocal interplay that renders all complaint for naught? Sure some of the funkier numbers are definitely tied to the time period ['Way Out Love', 'Rock You Good'], but there's nothing wrong with that. However, it's the liquid smooth first half the of the record that makes the whole shebang work: 'Choosey Lover' is a classic in its own right, but mid-tempo headboppers like 'Let's Make Love Tonight' and 'I Need Your Body' are most certainly soul-pop done right...and exceptionally so at that.
This album, like many albums from its particular corner of the musical spectrum, is never going to be popular with anyone in 2011. It's too smooth and fluffy for the thrill obsessed and too 80's for people who weren't that open minded to begin with. However, for the minority of people out there who think a good groove is worth their time regardless of the time period of its origin....I think you'll find much to revel in throughout.
Listen Here - "I Need Your Body"