Swinging soul tunes, lush ballads, an old-school, two-beat rave-up about needing "just a little more Jesus": Erica Campbell hardly pared down her sound for her first solo album outside Mary Mary, the Grammy-winning L.A.-based gospel duo she shares with her sister Tina.
But if "Help" sprawls as widely as Mary Mary's records do — "Nobody Else" even nails the chattering pop-funk of "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" — it also offers a newly personal look at Campbell's life, with songs about her marriage and her father in addition to the expected celebrations of God's love.
"I been in the fire so long I can't get burned no more," she sings in the pleading title track, yet that's not what this consistently vivid music suggests. On "Help" Campbell is always open to more feeling.
3 starsCopyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times