Enlisting the Aid of the Past in This 'Nu Era'

If one were to look at the current state of popular music, he or she might identify one or two areas in which they are left wanting.  One such aspect is the lack of relevant groups who are making a true impact on the sound and culture of popular music.  For those as young as I am, you don’t have to travel too far back into your memory’s recesses to remember the pandemonium that existed during the time of N’ Sync or the Backstreet Boys.  Some of you may even remember when Boys II Men reigned as the supreme sound of all that was considered beautiful in music. 

As we grew older, we saw attempts to recreate this experience through younger groups such as B2K, but if you can recall the moment was short lived, not to mentioned that all groups (both male and female) were thoroughly outshined by the sound, appearance, drama, and appeal of Destiny’s Child.  But just as history has always made a habit of repeating itself, one could not be naïve enough to believe there isn’t a group, or many of them, somewhere working hard and waiting in the wings in hopes that they will be the next ones chosen to recreate that magic.  One such group is Nu Era.

The average listener would argue that a current album is the most tell tale sign of whether or not such a feat could be achieved.  I venture to say that their current project, “Dawn of A Nu Era,” does not allow for a fair enough assessment to extend or disallow credence to the possibility. 

For the first seven songs of the album, the listener is allowed into the harmonic space of a group in search of its sound.  That there is talent to be brought out of this band of brothers cannot be disputed, but it is overshadowed by the lack of precise execution of collective melodies.  In other words, some of the vocalists in the group have grasped the technical aspects of singing more so than others, but that is easily remedied.

While it is uncertain if there is someone who is designated to sing lead, there is, in my opinion, a leader or captain of this group.  The most noteworthy songs of the entire album are “You and I” and “I Speak”, where Osiris Marsh not only sings lead but also acts as co-producer.  Nu Era is at its best when singing behind Osiris.  Their harmonies are tighter, everyone sings on pitch, and it is when he guides the group’s sound that their song’s emotion is most effectively conveyed. 

The two previously mentioned tracks call upon the sounds and stylings of classic male vocal groups such as the Temptations to achieve such refined melodic expression, which is fitting as more than one of Nu Era’s members cited an individual from that group as having influenced their solo approach. 

The irony of their distinctive sound coming as a result of their building upon one with such a classic history cannot be lost on anyone familiar with the Temptations or groups just like them.  This, however, does not take away from the fact that it is under the helm of this influence that their capabilities shine most brightly.   

Nu Era is a group of singers whose talents are better than this body of work reflects, and I would encourage them to deal with the most technical aspects of their musical execution.  It is only after they have done so that they will be aptly positioned to attempt to ignite the spark that releases into the harmonic stratosphere that magic we’ve been waiting to see once again. 

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