Ever wondered what happened to the members of Reality Check that didn't form Luna Halo? Well, we found one of them. Rod Shuler, the familira for his rap talents in Reality Check, is now one of two members of indie-band Fleau. They play what is known as "trip hop," which is "An exotic, down-tempo hybrid or hip-hop beats and keyboards, layered with ethereal sound effects and frequently laced with breathy, jazz-infected vocals (www.fleau.net)."
Shuler is the band's DJ. He also plays bass, is in charge of programming, and lends his raps and various "uh's" and "that's right's" to the self-titled disc. His musical partner member, Marisol Laboy, lends her beautiful vocals, which make up practically the whole disc, to the music. Though the production value is sub-par, the duo does the most with what they have to work with. And they're pretty good too. They have a little Evanescence flare, as well as a SoulJahz sound. They even almost resemble Linkin Park at times. And you can definitely hear the Reality Check mark left on Shuler. But as a whole, the band is pretty different from anything you've heard before.
The disc begins with the musical "Intro." No vocals are heard, just an atmospheric voice. The entire introduction is basically just a hip-hop beat with bass guitar thrown in. After it ends, "Turn Away" begins. It starts with some DJ cuts, then moves into Laboy's haunting vocals. She sings, "I will not turn away from You, I will not hide." "Chances" has a more hip-hop beat to it and talks about taking a chance and following what we can't see. The song features Shuler's first rap appearance on the project.
Next is "Move," a simple party anthem. Though, it's interesting, the tempo is rather slow for a party song. "Until" is unclear whether it is a love song to a romantic interest or to the Father, "I believe you (You?) were sent for me." It can be taken two different ways. Shuler's rap on the next track, "Everything," sounds a whole lot like the raps of Grits, which means he's rather good at what he does. "Back to Love" talks about returning to God while "Fading" is another love song to God. "My Cherie Armour," a Stevie Wonder cover, is probably the best - and most recognizable - track on this project. Laboy's vocals beautifully complement Wonder's original hit.
The disc wraps up with two more love songs - one directly to God ("Greater Love"), and the other, that can be taken different ways ("One"). It's nice to know that it isn't just the Luna Halo guys from Reality Check that are still making good music. One of them just hasn't hit it big yet. And, with a little work, Fleau certainly should hit it big. They're a combination of different genres not heard very many places. It'll be great to see where the band lands in the next few years.- Review date: 8/21/03, written by Josh Taylor
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