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ALBUM REVIEW | R&B

Liv Warfield, ‘The Unexpected’

On her second solo record, Liv Warfield gets a little help from Prince, who executive produces and contributes one song to this genre-crossing disc. The big-voiced Warfield has been a touring member of the most recent incarnation of the New Power Generation. She shows range and versatility here, writing all but two of the 13 tracks while producing the set. The songs, recorded live with a muscular yet flexible band, have a refreshing vividness and dimension. While a few of them feel somewhat unrealized (“Lena Blue”) and broad, Warfield compensates with her dynamic vocals. The visceral, guitar-driven title track, written by Prince, finds the singer sliding from coy to feral, and “Blackbird” is a commanding bluesy strut. Horns punctuate a swinging “Stay — Soul Lifted,” which draws as much from the church as it does classic soul. With bold, bristling songs like “Why Do You Lie?” Warfield seems like an anomaly in today’s often overly slick, formulaic pop world. New power indeed. (Out Tuesday)

Ken Capobianco

ESSENTIAL “Why Do You Lie?”

Ken Capobianco can be reached at franznine@live.com.
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