The collaboration between vivid producer Quantic and vocal gem Alice Russell was never meant to happen. Even in a perfect alternate universe, Look Around The Corner exists in a fractured state as two equally appealing albums–one instrumental and one soul. Listeners might notice a similar resonance between the two works, but never fathom a combined fantasy. Although in an another alternative universe, our universe, these two musicians found one another, wrote an album and subsequently ripped a hole in spacetime. Perhaps this is how they achieved such a rich genuine sound. All they had to do was reach back 40 years and pull it though. It’s obvious, this is how Quantic formed The Combo Bárbaro, their backing band.
If by some cruel act of God, all soul, funk and latin music were erased from history, and only this album existed, one could faintly hear the echos the Buena Vista Social Club, Bernie Worrell and La Lupe. Instrumentally, this album is authentic to a variety of genres. From the pitchy latin guitar tones, to the funky Fender Rhodes keys. The track “Su Suze” is the modern day blue-eyed latin soul. “Boogaloo 33” is a perfect take on vintage rock, complete with Buddy Holly tones and tight-wristed jazz percussion. Add this to Quantic’s warm analog sounding production and a genuine glint catches the ears of the most casual listener.
After scaling the keystone that is the instrumental base of Look Around The Corner, the listener must ascent the vocal range of Alice Russell, which is as vast as it is beautiful. Between moments of instrumental virtuosity, Alice Russell’s warm tones accent stories that are equally genuine. She ranges emotionally from the sorrow on “I’d Cry” to the optimism on “Look Around The Corner”. The track “Su Suzy” tells the story of domestic violence. It’s unfortunate that this topic is universal, but Russell begs the listener to get on a train and escape. You can almost picture a woman frantically packing her belongings as the tempo spirals in unison with aggressive percussion and flute. Russell flexes her soul prowess on the track “I’ll Keep My Light In My Window”. Those sensitive to authentic soul music will agree, this track strikes a reminiscent chord.
One can’t help but picture Quantic’s Sonido Del Valle Cali studio, full of talent and brimming with collaborative thought. In a time when so much music is created under a single pair of hands, it’s reassuring that a group of individuals with instrumental diversity, exist under one roof for the sole purpose of creating a single album.