On Amel Larriuex’s fifth solo release (her 4th independent release on her own imprint, Blisslife Records), Ice Cream Everyday, treats us to bubbly pop/funk tunes and mellow musings that all topped with her crystalline vocal. The full project’s production direction is kept in-house with husband, Laru, guiding. Much of the record feels like Amel is riffing on R&B samples or sparse electronic rhythm patches. And when you have a vocal instrument that is jazzy, sweet, and one of the closest this age has to Minnie Ripperton, I’m all ears regardless.
The album’s first single, “Afraid”, sports a bouncy bass line and evokes an 80’s roller skate jam with a soulful vamp that keep the song in your mind long after the track is done. Following is the song “A Million Sapphires”, which takes more dramatic and sensual turn than I might have expected after the opening dance number. However it makes more sense in light of the third track, “I Do Take”, which is an ode to lasting love and making a choice to stay in that love. Next is the uptempo track, “You Don’t See Me”, which feels like something Rich Harrison would’ve produced for the likes of Amerie or Toni Braxton with its drum kit play and brass hits. “Berries and Cream” is a slinky, playful funk vibe session. She keeps that sort of groove going with the cautionary, “Moment To Reflect”, and this track also has another one of those nice, unexpected vamps. “Orange Glow” evokes a Wendy and Lisa styled-strut as Amel aims for the stars on those vocals. One of the album’s few acoustic moments, “Don’t Let Me Down” exposes a love that may not be perfect but is still desired for the little joy it may bring.
Rounding out the album are alternative versions including “I Do Take 2”, a sonic vocal experiment on “Trapped Being Human”, and the life-cycle mediation, “Soon”. Several repeated listens prove to me that Amel made sure that Ice Cream Everyday remains the perfect addition to any soul food diet.