Mojo (UK)

Imaginatio­n Featuring Leee John

Retropia CRISTAL RECORDINGS. CD/DL

- Daryl Easlea

The Lee with three Es returns on surprising form. Damned forever for appearing in togas and diapers on Top Of The Pops, Imaginatio­n offered the missing UK seaside postcard link between Barry White and D’Angelo. Made with members of Loose Ends, The Gibson Brothers and Incognito, their first album since 2013 is a surprising listen. Born out of sadness – the deaths of several of mainstay Leee John’s friends as well as his sister – its ruminative slow jams (such as seven-minute flute-heavy Utopia) are all taken at a most leisurely pace. John’s voice is on remarkable form throughout. It’s very much like mid-period Sade or George Michael albums, full of beautiful, skeletal melodies. The only missteps are an acoustic version of AC/DC’s Highway To Hell (no, really), and Brighter Day, which all gets a little Michael Jackson at its most saccharine. This aside, Retropia underlines what a hidden talent John is.

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