reviewed by Jill Hill

Published in Issue No. 15 ~ August, 1998

I loved Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite, so it made it doubly painful to see the release of his sophomore effort and wonder if it would live up to my expectations. After all, how many times have you been screwed on a second CD? Too many to count? Oh, yes! And was I once again, you ask? No.

Maxwell hits an admirable grove on Embrya. Sweet, smoky vocals. Lots of heat pumping rhythm. And super dopey lyrics. It is best not to think about the lyrics. It is best to listen to the mood of the music and move with the beat and not hear lines, such as, “cause where you touched was such a no-no.” What the hell is that? A no-no? Is that a lovemaking term I’ve missed? If so, thank God!

Speaking of lovemaking, Embrya is long on foreplay without ever giving the listener a climax, (to use a story plotting term) or in the case of music the melody is never resolved. It sort of just goes on. Even though this is a theme CD, it would have been nice to insert a few little peak experiences in the song so the listener is left satisfied. Otherwise, Maxwell has a creamy blissed-out voice. If Embrya is flawed, it is flawed in a manner that doesn’t take away from the CD.

Ignore the words, enjoy the groove.

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Jill Hill lives with some kids, some dogs, writes, and manages a restaurant where she tries out her new CD's. She listens to a variety of music, from Classical to Blues, but tries to stay away from most rap. In her words: "I am always on the look out for a new band or singer/songwriter that I will like. I like a CD that does not grow old and weary sounding, which mean I don't want buy a CD that can be found on the used CD sale table a month later. One of my favorite CD's is Neal Young's Everyone Knows this is Nowhere. My favorite writer is Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and my favorite novel of his Of Love and Other Demons. X-Files is about the only TV I watch. I do not watch sitcoms and do not like music inspired by sitcoms. I'd rather listen to a sampled rap version of the Jetsons theme song."