Tuac — Higher Ground Album Review by Jay Fingers

Tuac - Higher Ground

Title: Higher Ground
Artist: Tuac
Label:
KPI
Genre(s): Soul / R&B
Released: November 6, 2012
Website: www.lenxiang.com
Social: Facebook | Twitter

Singer, songwriter, actor, and Brooklyn native Tuac (pronounced “tuck,” also known as Len Xiang) has been on the scene for a while, performing at a variety of venues, sometimes accompanied by a band, other times on the solo tip with just a guitar. The man is a true artist, a soulful crooner blessed with an amazing voice and captivating presence. Those qualities certainly shine through on Higher Ground, a five-song EP that blends elements of contemporary R&B with those of classic soul.

As expected, Ground covers a lot of ground that other similar projects have tackled—love, spirituality, activism. But what sets it apart from those other discs are Tuac’s strong songwriting abilities and his decision to eschew the cold nature of digital production in favor of live instrumentation and melodic backup vocalists, all of which help elevate the EP to, well, a higher level.

The album begins with the energetic swing and delicious harmonies of “Sunshine” before segueing into the inspirational, triumphant title track. “Higher Ground” is so beautifully laced with church organs and loop-worthy drums, you’ll find yourself praise dancing and nearly catching the Holy Ghost.

On the piano-driven “Free Man,” Tuac asserts his autonomy against any and all who choose to chain or lock him up—“I’m free to love/I’m free to hate/I’m free to feel/And I’m free to create”—whether physically, mentally, or spiritually.

You’ll tap your toes during the jam session that is “Come Together,” and you’ll definitely feel the power in “Stronger,” a soulful ode to the human spirit’s inexhaustible.

If there is one complaint to be had about Higher Ground, it’s the album’s length. Though an EP, it still clocks in at a brisk 15 minutes. Thankfully, the songs, while brief, feel epic in scope.

Higher Ground is, in essence, feel-good soul. Its messages of positivity, vulnerability, and fortitude in trying times are applicable to listeners from all walks of life, and thankfully the album does not come across as preachy. Instead, thanks to Tuac’s powerful vocal performance, as well as production courtesy of K.C. Price, Higher Ground serves as a truly inspirational and brilliant

Grade: A-

Best Tracks:

“Stronger Than You” (Official Video)

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