Acute Inflections | 400 Review
by Jeff Becker
There is an old saying, “make a joyful sound.” The sophisticated and sassy duo Acute Inflections has moved well beyond that statement with their latest album, 400. A tribute to Bob Marley, their selections of his well-known and more obscure tunes make this newest album a strong statement of relevance. What makes Marley’s tunes go beyond the simplistic idea of protest songs is the injection of love, unity, and peace wrapped into the message of change. This does not mean the album has fewer teeth or grit than other albums for change because that would be an understatement. Marley was always a genius of highlighting an unfair or unjust moment in time – it is in the timelessness of his message where Acute Inflections resides their conveyance. Driven by vocalist Elasea Douglas and bassist Sadiki Pierre the duo creates a sound beyond the pair’s sonics. Douglas’ voice is unifying and rich with soulfulness and creativity of delivery, all the markings of a seasoned vocalist. Pierre holds down the rhythm melody and provides improvisational support that richly supports Douglas’ elastic and plentiful vocal abilities.
“Stir It Up” starts right on the melody. Douglas’ singing is centered and pleasant to listen to, with all the lyrics clearly enunciated. Pierre’s bass is woody and bright, with his percussive attacks on the bass adding to the rhythmic momentum of the groove. Speaking of groove, the feel is surprisingly robust, considering it is just a bass and vocal duet. Both performers keep the focus on the feel of the song, and that is what makes the duet work so well.
“Is This Love” is an enjoyable arrangement by the duet, especially Douglas, and her playful flourishes to the melody. The duet setting lets each word distinctly be heard, giving Marley’s message of love, unity, and freedom a platform to be heard. Douglas and Pierre have a unique chemistry, allowing the message of love to come through in their music.
Acute Inflections has moved the needle a giant step forward with 400. The material is smartly chosen and well-executed. The duo captures the spirit of Marley’s tunes with solid interaction, strong performances, and dynamism that catapults their fourth album to a strong artistry statement.