Holding tight to a strong balance between the seductive groove of smooth RnB and the more ballad-like emotional might of a mellow classic, Wembi’s album Perspective showcases his observational story-telling and easy-to-embrace leading vocals in a colourful way. Beginning with the literal and adoring Seductive Eyes, the album works hard to present audiences with something that entertains in a light and easily accessible manner.
After the opener, Puerto Rico sees the piano sound continue down a similar pathway, but the mood is notably more melancholy now, and the lyrics seem far more thoughtful and reflective of life and the bigger picture. Following this, Birth Of a Movement sees the energy rise high as a tribal dance beat emerges and re-directs the entire aura of the piano sound. As the track progresses, the creativity explodes, seeming completely fresh, unpredictable, and free from the confines of genre. It’s unexpected eclecticism, by all accounts, but you soon acclimatize to Wembi’s approach and to the various melodic and stylistic threads that run throughout the project.
Elsewhere on the album, there are plenty of new melodies and so much that lets the listener get a clearer picture of who the songwriter is and what this process is all about for him. Hell No is a good example of that personal touch, a piece presented in a hopeful way but with a dash of characterful attitude. The way Wembi crafts many of his verse lyrics underlines a certain trait about his writing that brings much more to a single line than you might commonly expect. Ring That Bell follows and fully opens up the doorway to the personal touch and the realness. Wembi holds nothing back, addressing the difficulties and the joys in equally passionate ways. His music is an extension of himself, so everything appears very heartfelt.
A significant level of thought and energy has gone into the making of this project, from the multiple languages featured, to the detailed, world-music-fusion of tracks like Tanganyika – an exciting, meandering instrumental journey – every moment works hard to maintain the listener’s interest, and to connect with them. There are as many stories of life and love on the album as there are musical journeys through deep thought and possibility. The songs offer complexity on occasion, but softness and simplicity elsewhere. Balance is key, and Wembi has kept that in mind when arranging this collection.
Towards the final moments, the driving force of the piano returns to guide the way – Hopes and Lies stands out in particular, a notably melancholy mood again, the leading voice offering a lower tone, an almost whispered delivery that again feels very authentic. After this, I See In You is one of the more uplifting and hopeful. The perspective is inspiring, and the chord progression and vocal delivery add to this, creating an energizing effect that’s invaluable at this later point within the playlist. Only the bonus track remains afterwards, so this official finishing point sees things to a close with brightness, energy, and positivity.
Take My Hand, My Friend marks the final, bonus song of the album. It makes a lot of sense, it’s delicate and lays bare the very essence of Wembi’s writing style and performances. You’re reminded of his artistic approach, of the things that matter to him in life, and hopefully this helps you connect with him and with the underlying ideas and experiences that led to the writing of these songs.
It’s always commendable when artists put in the consistent effort and attentiveness to complete a full length project like this. There’s so much more to relate to and to get lost within on an album, as opposed to a shorter EP or single. Perspective presents the Wembi sound in a smooth and honest way. ( Reviewed by Rebecca Cullen – Stereo Stickman)