When you think the quality and standard of Mr. Idibia’s music will experience decline in his fifth release, the father of six proves you wrong. The ‘Grass 2 Grace’ maestro recruited a handful of ace producers and artistes to create the soul food known as ‘Away and Beyond’.
The cuisine opens with the Huma Lara assisted ‘Higher (Spiritual Healing)’, on the number 2Face shows he has grown artistically and musically incorporating a spine-tingling Indian sample. ‘Higher’ possesses the ability of calming a troubled mind and sets the tone for the what lies ahead. On ‘Bother You’, the afro-pop titan team ups with Terry Tha Rapman to craft a soulful tune addressing the subject of rumours and third parties attempting to scatter the ‘party’ of his relationship. After being ‘Spell Bound, the singer chants ‘Steady, Steady’; a mid-tempo number urging Nigerians to live life by taking one step at a time.
Although ‘Raindrops’ fell on his previous LP, 2Face busts a couple of moves in them this time around. ‘Dance in the Rain’ is arguably the album’s highest point as he sings “I’ll bask in the sun and dance in the rain…” preaching the appreciation of life. After the down pour, 2Face sees his ‘Rainbow’; which is a defining moment in musical journey. The piece clearly speaks to his wife ‘Annie Macaulay’ and in my opinion one of the greatest love songs in these shores. Somewhere in the mix, with a lush piano-led instrumentation Idibia seeks the truth on ‘In The Eyes’.
The 15-track LP also boasts of a number of club friendly numbers like the groovy ‘Dancefloor’ where the vocalist pays tribute to the late King of Pop ‘Michael Jackson’ in his little way; using the phrase “Blood on the Dancefloor”. The show-stopping ‘Ihe Neme’ is another potential smash and there is the so-so ‘Bad Man, Bad Girl’ which features Ghanian belter ‘Becca’ not forgetting the up-tempo ‘O.N.D (Omo No Dulling)’, with guest appearances from Hypertek’s recording artistes ‘Dammy Krane’ and ‘Rocksteady’. Cerious Music and Hypertek collides and results in a disappointing ‘Chemical Reaction’, the Naeto-C assisted track might just be the weakest the link. ‘Omo Tosan’ which is the second track is another cut which should not be undermined.
At his ‘Buckwild & Breathless’ concert which was held at the prestigious Eko Hotel & Suites the ‘African Queen’ conferrer declared ‘Away and Beyond’ an album for matured mind and that sums it all up. Undoubtedly 2Face Idibia sets the trend and does not follow it, this he validates in this rich, matured, soothing, spicy, adventurous and solidly produced album.
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