Album Review: DW3 | On The Floor
by Brent Faulkner

DW3’s On the Floor represents a ‘rarity’ in the R&B world – a ‘soulful’ album as opposed to an effort filled with electronic gimmicks and a lack of substance. On this effort, the clear goal of the group is to celebrate and keep alive a tradition of R&B that is respectable and noteworthy. On this set of tracks, DW3 successfully blend old with new without sounding ‘out of touch.’ Blending the best elements of classic-soul, neo-soul, smooth jazz, pop, and contemporary R&B, the digitally released On The Floor (released January 25, 2011) proves to be a sound affair with some pleasant surprises.

After an intro simply entitled “Intro” sets the tone of the album (an urban groove and harmonized background vocals), the exceptional title track “On The Floor” follows. The production work is archetypical of neo-soul/adult contemporary R&B – think R. Kelly on his more soulful efforts (Chocolate Factory or 2010’s Love Letter). Vocally, the performance is nuanced and memorable, and the chorus is well written and catchy. On “If I Never Told You,” the group keeps the momentum going, continuing to hearken back to a classic soul sound with simple, yet chivalrous lyrics to match (“If I never told you, how much you mean to me… you’re everything my heart would ever need”). “I Got You,” featuring saxophonist Gerald Albright, doesn’t ‘drop the ball,’ providing one of the album’s most capable performances. Albright’s guest spot may be low key, but given the smooth nature of this cut, his performance is appropriate and contributes to the sensual quality of the cut.

“Never Met a Girl Like You” continues in a ‘throwback’ direction, proving almost naive to the more overt nature of R&B and ‘love’ songs today. The “Sha la la’s” seem almost anachronistic, hearkening back to Al Green as opposed to the gimmickry that consumes modern R&B. The old fashioned sound is much appreciated, and makes On The Floor a special, more ‘classic’ effort. “DW3 (Midtro)” finds the group acting as if the album is a radio broadcast, and leads into “Out on A Limb,” the oddest, most out of place cut on the album.