Manchester duo Children Of Zeus seemed to touch a nerve with their debut album ‘Travel Light’. Critically acclaimed, it became a colossal word of mouth success, distilling elements of R&B, neo-soul, reggae, and broader sounds from UK club culture into a potent, singular listening experience. Lighting the path for a new generation of Manny street soul warriors, ‘Travel Light’ has retained its place as a deeply influential release.
Spending two years on the road touring their debut, Children Of Zeus faced a formidable task in crafting a follow up. Yet the standard doesn’t dim on ‘Balance’ – the zest in their songwriting is still there, while the inquisitive production is continually soaking up fresh elements. A work of subtle production, it’s the sound of a highly talented pairing finessing what works, and expanding on the inner machinery of their creativity.
Tyler Daley and Konny Kon open the album with ‘Sunrise’, a tone poem that feels like a family saying grace before a meal. ‘No Love Song’ finds Children Of Zeus pinning down that buttery R&B sound, before ‘I Know’ and ‘Someone’ push them into new arenas.
‘Cali Dreams’ is a sun-burnt tale of West Coast wandering, while ‘The Most Humblest Of All Time, Ever’ is perhaps the album’s more direct link up with contemporary rap traps, with its sloping trap beat and laidback flow.
If the project’s debut album felt defiantly UK in origin, then ‘Balance’ finds Children Of Zeus opening up and reaching out. Beat Butcha gains two production credits, while Soulection regular Cay Caleb holds down a guest spot on the title track.
Expanding their palette just a little, Children Of Zeus manage the delicate art of the follow up. Placing their artistry in a fresh context, ‘Balance’ feels just right, merging the sound of their debut with fresh elements, without losing the innate character that makes them feel so special. True trailblazers of a very specific strand of UK soul music, Children Of Zeus are way out in front of the pack.
Words: Robin Murray
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