The majority of artists regularly lumped into the neo-soul movement are more velvet than sandpaper, more Al Green than Wilson Pickett, and, in the case of Natalie Stewart and Marsha Ambrosius, the pair of Brits behind Floetry, more Magic Johnson than Shaquille O'Neal. The basketball analogy is apt, since Stewart and Ambrosius participated in the sport prior to taking up music and utilize a style that recalls an elegant point guard; they prefer silky moves that make their teammates better over explosive bursts that momentarily rock the house. Their most recent disc, last year's flo'Ology, exemplifies their approach. Although the grooves are preternaturally smooth and seductive throughout, they seldom succumb to quiet-storm stereotypes. Likewise, songs such as "SupaStar," featuring guest rhyming by Common, and the passionate "I'll Die" occupy a middle ground between old-school R&B and post-hip-hop tunesmithing that's as rich melodically as it is emotionally. The Floetrists, who join Goapele at this gig, put up plenty of points, but they never let listeners see them sweat.


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