Ultra Nate has enjoyed an especially long career for a dance diva, sustaining for almost two decades on her ability to fuse trendy dance sounds with a bit of an eclectic flavor reminiscent of acts like Grace Jones. She peaked in the late ‘90s with the hit single “Free”, which poured out of radio stations, house parties and gay bars across the country. She‘s also issued several albums that go above and beyond what‘s expected of the traditional dance singer. Grime Silk Thunder is her first album in six years and it’s a mixed bag, highlighting her strengths and weaknesses in equal amounts. About half the album is completely serviceable (but also completely generic) house music. Her gospel-tinged voice is solid on the entire album, but it shines on the album’s best tracks—from the down tempo gospel/jazz/funk of “Feel Love” to a credible cover of the Pointer Sisters’ flawless 80s classic “Automatic”. The icy-cool electro of “Falling” is another highlight—it’s an instrumental and melodic throwback to dance’s early ‘80s glory days.
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