1 Soul Entertainment, LLC (2013)
By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog
Mission Possible is an apt title for the Apostles’ debut album, because it is the product of a 2009 dream made manifest three years later.
The Florida trio—Earnest Faust, Jr., Jacquelyn "Jackie" Etienne, and Marlon "Maze" Graves—are steeped in the 1970s slow-groove R&B that, for years, was each singer’s artistic bread and butter. Changing the lyrics but not the sound, leaving the silky major seventh chords and smooth jazz harmonies intact, the Apostles evoke the soul balladry of the Manhattans and Maze.
The lyrics on Mission Possible have more in common with quartets than gospel groups, as the trio takes on fake elders and fake pastors on “God’s Word,” and abortion-bound mothers on “I Choose Life.” To add doses of reality to their proclamation of God’s steadfastness on “You Carry Me Through My Trial,” the members spell out some of the trials, including car repos, lights turned off, job loss, and even contemplation of suicide.
Despite the prevalence of the group’s dusties sound, “Jesus is on the
Line” stands out for its engaging up-tempo
hand-clapping rhythm and crowd-engaging enthusiasm. For as popular as this song is with church
congregations, it has never made it on record as often as one might think.
In some ways, the electric keyboard and drum programming that dominate the album give the group’s soft retro sound authenticity, but on the other hand, I would prefer to hear the trio belting out the disco-fied “Show Him Love,” or their inspirational single, “Winner In You,” with the string-laden and brassy accompaniment that characterize the work of producers such as Carl Davis and Bunky Sheppard. Nevertheless, Mission Possible is a chill pill of inspirational messages.
Three of Five Stars
Pick: “Jesus is on the