"Let Love Shine In..." sung by a gospel choir serves as the album's captivating opening line, setting the tone for this remarkable seventh release from one of Britain's most cherished and hard-working bands.
Though named after the producer and singer, Smoove & Turrell is a formidable group of musicians who can effortlessly captivate audiences across a wide range of venues, from huge stages in the blazing sun at Glastonbury to a working men's club in Leeds on a rainy Tuesday.
Building on the success of their previous album 'Stratos Bleu', which reached number one in the UK Dance Chart and was named Album of The Day by BBC 6 Music, the band continue on their journey to create music that makes you want to dance and escape your worries. Yet they do so without succumbing to trite or hollow lyrics. Their genuine passion and understanding of their craft shines through in every song.
In contrast to the carefree musical attitude of their unashamedly funk-driven sound, the band's socially conscious lyricism keeps them grounded in their working-class roots in the North East of England. They refuse to overlook the struggles and dark times that are as acutely felt as the joyous moments.
The album derives its name from Ellen Wilkinson, an early female Labour politician who played a prominent role in the Jarrow March, which greatly influenced post-war perspectives on social justice.
Lead singer John Turrell eloquently expresses the band's vision, "After enduring years of deceit from those in power, we believed it was time for love to reclaim its place in our lives. This album embodies hope and serves as a reflection that, regardless of the turmoil surrounding us, if we remain resilient and support one another, we will all triumph. Our hero, central to our epic tale, is Ellen Wilkinson (Red Ellen), a woman who embodied everything that those currently in power seek to dismantle. Let us emulate Ellen's spirit and stand up for goodness, fight for all that has benefited us collectively, and give back what we don't need, for only love can conquer hate."
'Red Ellen' is more than just a collection of songs; it's a profound tribute to a remarkable figure and a celebration of the enduring spirit of a British band dedicated to inspiring us to dance through life's challenges and illuminate the darkest corners with the glow of hope.
From soulful collaborations to pure boogie numbers and poignant tributes to vibrant energies, the album celebrates the resilience and capacity of the human spirit to let love shine through. It is vital not to overlook the message that resonates within these rhythms: that love, in all its forms, has the power to triumph over the shadows that surround it.