They should use Ralf GUM as a spokesman for positive thinking, taking the place of Bobby McFerrin for a new “Don’t Worry Be Happy” campaign. The German replays his house paradise of Uniting Music with effortless elegance. If you like your house a little more ‘uptight,’ GUM will seem like the anti-DJ. If you want class and respecting of values that reaffirm faith, GUM is king of a castle he’s built with his own bejewelled bucket and spade, glossing everything from pianos to percussion to bass to brass to vocals with sunny grace and Latin schmoozing.
Put Never Leaves You in a scrum of soulful funky house and it’ll struggle to break from the pack. It only knows one direction, just keeping its head above the watery in places (“Burning Star”), regardless of the calibre of assisting vocalists Robert Owens, Soul II Soul’s Caron Wheeler (on the marginally more uppity “So Good”) and Kenny Bobien. Know the man’s standards and what you want on a hot flute-clinking day and you’ll be quickly eyeing your position by the pool, your rump shaking politely amidst respectful flirtations (Jaidene Veda’s “Do It For Love” is all about private hideaways and Mediterranean luxury). You can absolve GUM from clichés when his sonic sunscreen begins working into crisping skin, because it’s the easiest of club music to shape your schedule around.
File under: Reel People, Tone Control, Raw Artistic Soul