Warren Hill: Shelter

On this side of the ocean, at least, The Brand New Heavies are the model for the now standard female soul-singer-led R&B/fusion outfit. On Shelter (Delicious Vinyl, DV5019-2, 58:42) said female soul singer (N’Dea Davenport) has been replaced (by Siedah Garrett), but the familiar Brit-influenced grooves are in place. Which is both good and bad. Garrett’s voice is hardly lacking, and tunes like “I Like It,” “Highest High” and “Day By Day” sport their keyboard-flavored, retro-soul charms proudly, but there isn’t a whole lot of envelope pushing here, just a pleasant holding pattern.