Born in Durban, South Africa and currently based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Vanessa Moodley combines jazz and soul for her album Loved EP, a lovable five-track album. She delivers just the sound to get you in the mood for romance.
The Loved EP begins with a warmup track, titled “You Believed.” This is such a good leadoff track because of its alluring sound, driven by the smooth Rhodes piano, rhythmic drums, melodic bass, and Vanessa Moodley’s quiet and loving voice. The chorus is infectiously catchy with the “You-, you-, you- believed” lines, and the bass guitar solo in the middle of the song adds an enjoyable dimension to the song. “You Believed” is a near-perfect jazz experience. Not bad as the album’s first track.
Vanessa Moodley dims the lights with “By Your Side.” With simply just a piano for the instrumental track, the four minute and fourty-six second love song aims to bring out Vanessa’s strong emotion and melodic voice right into the spotlight. And wow, this song is so good. There’s this mesmerizing quality from the song that can greatly soothe the body and soul of listeners. All they have to do is close their eyes and let Vanessa’s voice take them over.
The album keeps things slow and tender with the near-seven minute track, “Wait With Me.” Compared with the previous song, this one hears the re-addition of the drums and has a slower tempo. The arrangement of “Wait With Me” is pretty neat, as there is enough spotlight for Vanessa Moodley, the drummer, and the pianist to do their thing in the vocal and instrumental sections. The song is relaxing enough to keep you waiting around and enjoy the music with Vanessa.
The fourth track, “Written in the Stars,” starts with a little drum solo. It’s played at a similar tempo and clocks out with a similar track with “Wait With Me.” The Rhodes piano is played in a way that gives off a starry atmosphere, darkening the room completely and inviting listeners to look up and stargaze while getting lost in Vanessa’s voice. Although this vibe is further strengthened by the stereoized backing vocals, the backing vocals could also be a little quieter to be less distracting and to leave the lead vocal stem front and centre. Within the last two minutes of the song, there’s an effect added on Vanessa’s vocals which makes it sound like it’s coming an old radio speaker. This effect sounds out of place and slightly ruins the overall vibe of the sound.
Loved EP closes out with “Want to Love.” This song quickens things a little bit with a faster rhythm but at the same time keeps the sound smooth. “Want to Love” offers a twisting and complex arrangement, and the song brings out the most of Vanessa Moodley’s vocal range and power.
Overall, Loved EP is a very well-produced album by Vanessa Moodley. It’s easy to tell she has learned a lot when she studied jazz performance, composition, and arranging for her Bachelor of Music Degree. She’s been able to apply it with her recorded music, resulting in a respectable EP. The only thing with Loved EP is that there isn’t enough variety between the tracks. Some listeners looking for a more action-packed jazz album may be left unsatisfied, but for other listeners the album should still be charming enough to appreciate what Vanessa Moodley has to offer with her five-track extended play.
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