Stage (2)
The trio that’s backed up Sade for two decades forged this identity in 1996. Sweetback’s second album welcomes vocalists Aya, Chocolate Genius and Ivana Santilli into a sophisticated chill groove not far removed from the band’s main gig. The impulse to experiment is limited, but most compelling is a fusion of hits by Bobby Caldwell (“What You Won’t Do For Love”) and Frankie Valli (“Grease”) into “Love is the Word.” It gleams, and you can barely hear the stitches.
—Doug Taylor

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