Six years after they revolutionized R&B and soul with their debut album, Keep on Movin'
, Soul II Soul
returned with Vol. V: Believe
. Since their debut, the soul collective had been struggling to regain their position as musical innovators; in the process, they turned out two confused albums that had their moments, but nothing quite as stirring as their initial singles, which were collected on the British-only Volume IV: The Classic Singles
, their fourth album of original material, doesn't necessarily make a case for Soul II Soul
as pioneers in the mid-'90s, but it does represent something of a comeback. Where their two previous albums were muddled affairs, Believe
is clear and confident, filled with fully formed songs. It helps that Jazzie B
, the leader of the group, has persuaded former members Caron Wheeler
and Penny Ford
to make appearances on the album, and has recruited some genuine new talent that helps spark him into recording his best music since the group's debut. Granted, it doesn't push down many boundaries, but Believe
fits comfortably into the laid-back, jazz-saturated grooves of '90s R&B.