Sweet Love
JJ Appleby
Uniteam Music
Digital Release
March 18, 2016

Track list
  1. Sweet Love
  2. What's Your Name
  3. For Real
  4. In Your Eyes
  5. Mr. Leroy
  6. Set Them Free
  7. Messiah Messiah
  8. Style And Fashion
  9. Sweet Darling
  10. Love And Joy
  11. Never Fail
  12. Love Light
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4 Backing : 4/5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4
It's vital for the artist to offer up releases that leave the listener wanting more... E.P releases can be effective in achieving that. Seasoned veteran JJ APPLEBY certainly did that a few months back with the "SWEET LOVE" EP (reviewed here). Wisely, he's released the full length set on the widely respected UNITEAM MUSIC label. This is an artist whose sweet delivery is welcome in Lover's Rock, Roots, Soul and Gospel and covers the bases with pure style to the fullness on this welcoming set...

JJ Appleby (Winston Fraser) started his career in Kingston JA before migrating to the UK. Currently operating out of Croydon, he's been releasing superb works for some time now. His 2009 album, "Situation" is a tour-de-force that's soulfully sweet and resonating. He has released consistent singles to keep active in the music scene. In September 2014, he won the prestigious "Best Soul Award" (X-Posing Awards) for the brilliant "What's Your Name?". The following year, he released "The Greatest Love"; an album chock full of diversity and versatility.

"Sweet Love" was realized at Ace Lane Studio by ace engineer Don Ricardo and mastered at Jack-O Studio. Honourable mention to Robbie Reynold and Tony Williams for making the title track such a memorable one! All tracks are produced by Winston and Mr. Chin (Uniteam Music). Any project with the Uniteam imprint is going to be top ranking. The label's critically acclaimed albums with Vernon Maytone, Ricky Chaplin and works with Carlton Livingston and Paul Fox/Vernon Maytone are quite remarkable. Royal mention of their upcoming second full length album with Vernon Maytone is necessary to remark.

So nice to hear "Sweet Love" again. On the EP, this is sweet and soulful Lovers Rock that's masterpiece territory. "What's Your Name?" is a solid Love ballad with JJ's seasoned and warm delivery. Fantastic guitar and keyboard work abound. "For Real" is a crisp production that evokes early Lovers Rock memories in the vein of The Investigators (legendary group who put out TOP Lovers Rock). Lively affair with engaging guitar and harmony. "In Your Eyes" is a unique track that grabs the listener's full attention after the second time around. Absorbing atmosphere! "Mr. Leroy" is a standout selection! JJ delivers in an intoxicating R'n'B style. Singing about Love running around; it's clear that he's an artist that can make a song snap without trying to outdo himself. Just good lyrics in all the right places. Heartical flow all around. "Set Them Free" works well so! Riding a Digi riddim reminiscent of Dennis Brown's 1988 "Death Before Dishonour", JJ delivers a straightforward Reality message that's instant rewind.

"Messiah Messiah" appears on the EP and it's joyful to hear this unique Dancehall treatment that has Lee Perry vocalisms. Boom! "Style And Fashion" follows; another entry on the initial release. He chats it up like a true champion indeed. Gladness for "Sweet Darling" to be included, also. Sweet Lovers Rock that's anchored by top bass work, taut bubbling and subtle sax work. Certainly one of the most powerful songs of the Heart to be heard in some time. X amount of brilliance here! "Love And Joy" takes on a different style all the while. He embraces a Funk style that's pure energy. Get on the dancefloor with this one! Great backing vox from a talented songstress here. "Never Fail" is a perfect blend of Gospel and Dancehall. Not easy to create a lasting blend but JJ's versatility and music knowledge shines through. Impressive track all the way. The album closes with "Love Light". A powerful Roots rocker where spirituality and word power is strong. Rising in the strength of The Most High. It possesses a Bunny Wailer quality to it and is lived up by great percussion and guitar.

JJ APPLEBY's "SWEET LOVE" gains momentum from his earlier EP. It's a showcase of his versatility and the absolute grasp he has in Soul, Funk, Gospel and Reggae. There's something for everybody here and the overall atmosphere is cool and easy. This is a man of Love and Faith and those principles are felt throughout. Pleasing in all aspects. Satisfaction is in order with both EP and full length releases but important to check them both. Highly recommended. GO DEH!!