Mary Mary

Mary Mary

Incredible

Columbia

Another album of updated gospel music from sister duo Erica and Tina Atkins, who scored a massive hit a couple of years ago with Thankful and its lead-off single, the brilliant “Shackles (Praise You).” Kicking off with the admittedly catchy title track, Mary Mary seem to be on to something rather good here, yet it somehow fails to materialize as the album progresses. The main objection to this release is the undeniably confused focus of Mary Mary, they just don’t seem have any idea about how to combine their gospel music with contemporary R&B in an effortless, unconstrained manner. A big disadvantage, that, considering that’s exactly what they’re trying to do.

Sure, there are fine moments on here, but those are by far the more “conservative” interpretations of gospel music — “Thank You,” say, or “I Try.” The dualistic quality of the music could be a good thing, had Mary Mary decided to focus on it and put it to use. But instead the music seem to give in to any compromise, and there’s little left of either the smooth, street-wise sensuality of R&B or the hard and world-weary yet uplifting quality of gospel music. Only another album of bland and soulless R&B.

Columbia Records: http://www.columbiarecords.com

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