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Marcell & the Truth: Symbols

Oakhill Music

Maysa, Chick Webb, Fertile Ground, the Orioles – Baltimore's mean streets have birthed many major talents, and with its sophomore set, Symbols, grown-voiced Marcell Russell and his killer band the Truth prove themselves ready to carry the beleaguered city's proud soul torch. Slightly stepping away from the love ballads that anchored the steppers' debut, Hopes Too High, the rhythmic soul band covers such issues as spiritually destructive routes to fame ("Seed You Water") and the fruits of moderate living ("Somewhere in Between"). Rarely has contemporary soul managed to make so many weighty, personal issues accessible and infectious in melody, voice and composition. Marcell & the Truth journey through R&B, house, soft rock and light funk on this 12-song album of utter brilliance. Welcome back, B'more. 5 out of 5 stars.