I must admit, over the past year or two I've kinda veered away a bit from the more soulful side of house – it's more about the deep tech for me these days. A whole album of soulful male vocal numbers therefore doesn't excite quite like it might have done a few years ago, but that's my fault, not theirs… and in any case I'm glad people are still making this kinda stuff.
What kinda stuff? Well, Julian's voice is in that Peyton/Seal kinda vein, is the best I can describe it. Musically, we're talking yer basic straight-up house: it's perhaps a touch lacking in refinement and it's not, truth be told, particularly 'soulful' in feel, but then I'll take steady 4/4 kicks and synthy squiggles over noodly Afro beats and endless flutes and vibes any day, so I'm not gonna mark 'em down for that. Ironically perhaps, the track I'm liking best actually isn't house at all but rather the downtempo number Nothing. The title track's quite nice n' bouncy, too.
Overall the verdict is, 'a fair start'. I'm not sure a whole album was required: in the old days, the best two or three cuts would have been released as singles/EPs with remixes from some more established names, and that might've showcased Speakerpeople's talents better.
But I'm reminded of Todd Terry's words: "To all the critics: I'm waiting to hear YOUR fucking album". As he's quite right (being God n' that) and I haven't actually got one, best I can say about Parallel World is that you should check it for yourself if you get the chance.
About: This is on the Deep Recording label, based out Deep Recording Studios who you can find online here. It doesn't actually mention this album on the site, though, and I can't seem to find an actual Speakerpeople site, not even a MySpace… strange. Who knows, maybe I've dreamt the whole thing?