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The combination of Dane Bowers, Bobak Kianoush, Mark Baron and Wayne Williams released their self-entitled debut as Another Level in 1998. Clearly influenced by the style of Damage, the band acted as a second wave of Pop R&B boy bands before Blue came in 2001 (and then JLS by 2008) as they take on the style of American R&B acts, but water things down into a Pop style.
1. "Into Another Level"
2. "Freak Me"
After getting a blast of some heavy Hip Hop beats on the introduction, we have the pace dropped down massively as they are seen to move right on into this album and they get right on into what came as a chart-topping single for them when they covered the classic Silk song of the same name just to show what they have come to do with their music and where their influences in the game have come from.
3. "The Rain"
They smooth things out with this one as they get into a track that I felt sounded as if it had a strong contemporary feel to it (in terms of its overall composition and how exactly its production has been put together) but just because it was like that didn't mean that it would all come together as well and really the thing wasn't saying a lot and holds them back quite a lot as they move into the main body of the album.
4. "I Want You For Myself"
With this one they are able to pull things back for them as they are given beats that uses a similar formula to what is seen on the one that opened up the album (although done in an alternative way where they don't get as seductive with it) from this they are able to come out with a powerful jam that is able to counteract the fact that their vocals (aside from those of Dane Bowers' are far from impressive).
5. "I Can See You In My Mind" (Lude)
6. "Guess I Was A Fool"
Following a brief spell performing a capella (where they suddenly improve their vocal quality to the point where it doesn't sound like its them) you find that here the pace lowers for this one as they come out with a tune that has them moving things on towards the emotive love songs where they bring a tune that I can't say I really felt all that much, but was clearly directed more towards their Pop fan base.
7. "Girl What You Gonna Do"
Here we have the London-based act coming with a track that features an epic introduction that makes you think as though they aren't actually going to break out into any sort of verses whatsoever. However once they do, it seems to lead into them coming out with a banger of a jam where they keep it all very reserved and power through with something that I felt had a lot of appeal for both the UK and US audiences.
8. "Whatever You Want"
Taking clear influence from the likes of BLACKstreet, Jodeci and Dru Hill here we get another track that really wouldn't have stood out (for being UK-based) that much at the time when you consider the sorts of R&B jams that were being produced at the time and so with this club banger of a jam they show that they really did deserve some attention at the time for all the offer with their music.
9. "Don't Cry"
They kill it once again as they power through with this one and throw down a tune that I'm sure that you really wouldn't have any problem getting into if you were into the singles that popped off this album as here they come up with one that brings a lot of their elements together and forms them into another tune that was directed right towards the clubs for its energy, whilst the lyrics contrast from this heavily.
10. "Anytime You Need Me"
I can't say that I was really feeling this one as I had with a few of the tunes leading up to this stage on the album and so it was a bit of a shame to see that they were unable to keep the flow going for them at all stages of the record as when they come out with this soft ballad it does very little for them whatsoever and even seems to lead to it holding them back somewhat because it differs so heavily from the rest.
11. "Be Alone No More"
Fortunately the act manage to save things with the final track, a single that found them performing a killer R&B joint with a feature from the Brooklyn rapper Jay-Z. It was an unexpected guest inclusion, but adds so much at the end of the album as they bring material that you really can't say is anything other than the act working at their absolute best. The guest raps isn't even needed here as they do so much with it (especially in the melodies on the hook and so it tops the record off perfectly).
Although a few of the tunes on the album hold them back quite a bit here, I felt that there was a lot to like about this album and i can't really see how you couldn't the top-quality joints from this album if you were down for anything from contemporary American acts (would obviously assisted in having this group finding their distinctive sound).
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Another level
2 Freak me
4 I want you for myself
5 I can see you in my mind
6 Guess I was a fool
7 Girl what you wanna do
8 Whatever you want
9 Don't cry
10 Any time you need me (just call me up)
11 Be Alone No More - Another Level & Jay-Z