The Katinas join a growing number of Gospel artists who have embraced that intriguing urban/pop sound. With strong melodies and ingenious vocal hooks tied to tracks that marry the essential elements of both urban soul and contemporary pop, this material easily crosses genre boundaries.Producers: Various
album release date: May 8, 2001
On their sophomore project for Gotee Records, and with their Samoan heritage proudly anchoring them, these five brothers deliver, write, play and produce a deft mix of ballad grooves that showcase their smoothly blended vocals that family groups seem especially suited to deliver. It takes a finely tuned ear to catch the nuances between their respective voices.
And with the bevy of high octane producers (Todd Collins, Mike Linney, Bryan Lenox, Mooki, Aurel M.) molding the tracks along with The Katinas themselves, the sound easily tips into that enthusiastic pop/soul universe.
You’ll find that energetic cuts such as “Ain’t No Love” and the title cut “Destiny” will find a welcome mat leading to the sanctified dance floors and be found all over the playlists of joint-savvy DJs.
Mat Kearney inserts a brief guest rap segment into “If You Really”, a song which explains that if we really want to see the power of God move in our lives, we need to sell out to Him. The fast-paced prevalent guitar acoustic from Greg Hagan and electric from Akil Thompson in combo with an ultra-inventive urban scat of sorts from one of the brothers, lights this cut on fire.
A softer vibe emerges on “Believe” with its angle on a Bone Thugs’N Harmony type melodic motif in the back-chorus. With the steadily-rising and Nashville-based Mookie joining The Katinas on production (he also produces on the upcoming Londa Larmond project), the song’s strength lies in the vocal beds the brothers lay down over gentle acoustic-based instrumentals.
Mookie also takes the reigns on “The One I Adore”, a multi-authored composition which successfully fuses an alternative pop sort of sound with a percolating urban groove, and on “Sold Out Believer”, which although less aggressively grooved, is laced with vocal hooks and memorable rhymes.
There’s some beautiful instances of pure Gospel soul on this disc too. That includes the uptempo ballad “Lead Me” with Sam Katina smoothing out some pleasing chords on Rhodes. And on the praise gem “Thank You”, we hear the softly powered balladry and soulful deliveries that the group should really give us more of.
Jeremiah 29:11 gives the meaning behind the title of this project: “For I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” This is not merely in reference to the title track; it’s the overwhelming theme that these five brothers zone in on from beginning to end.
That’s Destiny, from The Katinas.
reviewed by Stan North —
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