Woven around soul searching, cautionary tales and parables for modern life, the new album is the most accomplished yet by the Leeds / London collective, effortlessly fusing different soul, jazz and global styles with great musicianship and lyrics. “Freedom Fables reflects on the power of narratives. Each vocalist on this record explores their own memoirs, a freedom of expression underpinning our belief that music is the ultimate narrative for unity,” explains Tom Excell. “The record references a lot of music that we all loved during our formative years; you can hear touches of broken beat, blunted hip hop, highlife, Latin, jazz and UK soul running through the tracks.”
The album is also packed full with illustrious guest appearances: regular collaborator Cherise features on the brilliant ‘Tittle Tattle’, calling out gossip through acerbic nursery rhyming, the loping ‘Flow’ dealing with the ebb and flow of anxiety and the epic Brazilian jazz workout, ‘Keeper’; UK jazz saxman Soweto Kinch brings a burning alto solo and rhymes to the determined ‘Buckle Up’ alongside the band’s own vocalist Nick Richards as the track aims to “find the door to peace” among life’s challenges. “Soweto is a trailblazer of the UK scene both as an alto player and as a rapper with a unique flow and important lyricism,” reflects Tom Excell. “It was really important for us to invite him to contribute to the album.” Richards continues the “dust yourself off and find hope” theme on the rousing ‘Wipe Away Tears’; Ghanaian great Pat Thomas voices a gorgeous Accra meets London highlife jam; massive new vocal talent Ria Moran (a contemporary from the band’s time at Leeds College Of Music) steps up on the sensual ‘Morning Light’ tackling delicate complexities of the heart and long time friend of the band, KOG, brings his trademark full strength Afro dancefloor energy.