Vibe - 9/95, p.196
"...attempting to bring the age of romance back to black pop....Taking soul straight back to Superfly's bubble bath...these...boyz have listened to more than their share of Motown, Philly International, and Casablanca discs....so sticky-sweet you can smell the sugar burning in the grooves..."
Solo: Eunique Mack, Darnell Chavis, Daniele Stokes (vocals); Robert Anderson (bass).
As the story goes, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis just happened to hear Solo harmonizing in the New York City subway. They liked what they heard. Savvy producers that they are, Jam and Lewis have managed to preserve the group's sound on this self-titled debut CD, a fine collection of street-corner soul, and lush, vocal-driven rhythm and blues.
Solo know where they come from; if not for the slightly hip-hoppish feel, "Heaven" could be a mid-'60s Temptations single. This is still new-age soul in the Intro, Shai and, of course, Boyz II Men vein, but compared to those groups Solo's sound is almost nostalgic. In fact, they aren't afraid to cop a lick or two straight from the source--"Xxtra," a slow, serpentine love-groove, begins with a sampled slice straight off the great Dramatics hit, "In The Rain." And hey lovers, take notice: the slow grooves are aplenty here.
Personnel: James "Big Jim" Wright (guitar, keyboards); Mike Scott (guitar); Billy Steele (piano, organ, keyboards); Jimmy Wright (Fender Rhodes piano, keyboards); Joseph Powell (keyboards, keyboard programming, drum programming); Alexander Richbourg (keyboards, drum programming); McKinley Horton, Jimmy Jam (keyboards); Stokley (drums); Jeff Taylor (drum programming).
Audio Mixers: Jeff Taylor ; Steve Hodge; Tony Maserati .
Recording information: Axis Recording, New York, NY; Axis Studios, New York, NY; Flyte Time Studios, Edina, MN; Flyte Tyme studios, Edina, MN; Quad Recording Studios, New York, NY; Quad Recording, New York, NY.
Photographer: Jeff Taylor .
Unknown Contributor Roles: Jimmy Jam; Terry Lewis; Darnell Chavis; The Characters; Robert "The Professor" Anderson; Alexander Richbourg; Khiry Abdulsamad; McKinley Horton; Eunique Mack.
Arrangers: Jimmy Jam; Terry Lewis; Alexander Richbourg; Khiry Abdulsamad; McKinley Horton; Joseph Powell.
Like Boyz II Men, Solo updates the sound of classic vocal groups, incorporating elements of hip-hop and contemporary soul to their basic R&B foundation. Under the direction of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, the group has created a slick, stylish modern soul synthesis. Their material isn't always first-rate; many songs lack a distinctive melodic hook. Nevertheless, the sound of Solo is splendid and the group shows a lot of potential on this debut. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine