Vernon Neilly & G-Fire – G-Fire II (CD)

One doesn’t make it on the radio when they are doing music that would be the background for the Weather Channel. The first track “LFO” is just that and every single thing that they could do wrong in trying to go and put this on the radio is there – it is instrumental, there is absolutely no driving force to the music, and everything just sounds synthesized. The second track, “Por Mi Amor” begins with a little more potential, even using a sample of a female’s vocals, but again moves into the bland jazz that has no other purpose besides being talked over or (even more likely) ignored in the bottom of quarter-bins. Throughout the rest of the CD, the listening audience is “treated” to what seems like a Santana on heavy tranquilizers and a backing band that seems barely able to be the backbeat for a Jodeci song. “Smoov Soul” is the perfect example of this, with the “twinkle-rain effect” that was so common in that style of songs being repeated ad nauseam.

Each track on “G-Fire II” is in nearly the same vein, with no surprises, no soul, no interesting guitar lines or drum beats to be found on the second half of the disc. The early-nineties r&b feel comes back for “Angel”, and would only be acceptable if the act found a vocalist to flow over the track, instead of putting the burden completely on the shoulders of the musicians to create something interesting. Each track ends without incident, though and are fairly fast. None of the tracks are distinctive. The bass finally comes out to some impact later on this disc (Afternoon Drive) but is hindered again by the same type of lackadaisical arrangement and execution. Finally bringing a vocalist on in some meaningful capacity for “Unconditional Love”, G-Fire finally sounds like a meaningful band only two-thirds of the way into their disc.

What seems to be the case with G-Fire II is that all four of the individuals had such an ego coming into the project (which is why instead of G-Fire the artist name is “Vernon Neilly & G-Fire with Mark Whitfield”). None of the tracks are a collaborative process, but the credits are always given to one person, and it is because of that that this album is so inoffensive. Each of the musicians have to work to the lowest common denominator, and it really shows.

Top Tracks: None

Rating: 3.7/10

Vernon Neilly & G-Fire – G-Fire II / 2004 Boosweet / / Reviewed 16 January 2005

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