Angela Lewis on pop music

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The Independent Culture
Is British soul in a good state at the moment? Well, let's see: Seal recently looted the American music scene of three Grammies, while dimpled songstress Desree came home to Blighty with one, and is also down as one of Britain's 100 highest-earning females of 1995. Oh, and then there's Gabrielle and Mark Morrison, who've been squatting in the top- 10 charts for weeks now. So yes, black British names have the voices to win plaudits and platinum status on both sides of the Atlantic. Which must be a good forecast for fresh faces like Benz and Original Son, who've shown class on recent melodically seductive singles which deserve wider attention.

There's just one problem. Suspiciously, live dates from newcomers tend to be few and far between. A couple of visits to TOTP can't tell us as much about their potential greatness as seeing them sweat it out on the tour circuit. Hopefully, Truce (right) will take the right road. Apparently, this female troupe of budding divas completely upstaged Stateside luminary Tony Thompson on a recent London support date. Their debut album, Nothin' But the Truce, didn't exactly make a huge dent in the nation's consciousness, but there was definite panache to songs like "Celebration of Life". Will their mix of gospel power and sensuality make them bigger than Eternal? If heady stardom is the goal, then a 50-date PA tour would be a step in the right direction.

Truce, Jazz Cafe, Camden, London NW1 (tickets: 0171-344 0044) 18 Apr

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