The return of George Evelyn is good news indeed, and it only takes a couple of beats to show us how much he’s been missed. ‘Shape The Future’ turns out to be a blissful, thoughtful and subtly invigorating record, exploring the familiar Nightmares On Wax territories of dub, urban funk and loping beats. What raises it far above its contemporaries is the awareness of cultures Evelyn has, not to mention the choice of guest vocalists and the depth of the lyrics they bring. ‘Typical’ boasts a beautifully understated but soulful vocal from Jordan Rakei, while ‘Citizen Kane’ goes deeper with a touch of gospel from Mozez and Allan Kingdom. ‘Gotta Smile’ is dubby, poolside house that lifts the spirits, while ‘Deep Shadow’ has a bittersweet vocal from Sadie Walker, complaining of how ‘you don’t understand the troubles I have with my man’. Evelyn has clearly spent a lot of time with this album, as the tracks are well structured and produced, but he has kept the spontaneous and all-inclusive ‘Wax’ factor that we all love. A bright light in the darkness of January.
5 out of 5