The Dynamic Five. Like some visitors from another galaxy, they swept into our world and were gone by morning. The only evidence of them ever existing lying in a single long player. The cover suggests they were normal people like you and I, but wearing spacesuits that could easily be mistaken for groovy pink wide lapelled shirts nestling beneath some dapper white jackets. Pray look closer, what really lies behind those greeting smiles and that carefully photographed spacecruiser ? Well, their message reassuringly is one of love, suggesting it to be a truly intergalactic phenomenon. I managed to hack into NASA records to upload their dossier on the Dynamic Five sighting of 1978, produced by their man-on-the spot, Joe Reed. This is what I found : Number: Five, Distinguishing trait: Dynamic, Last seen: Manhattan UA Records. Status: Closed. However, the US Government must be extremely embarrassed at how their effort to quell the incident has only fuelled the magnitude of its notoriety. The Dynamic Five have now become the subject of whispers, urban legends and intellectual debate. Well we are pleased to announce to the world an undoctored, unmitigated source of that elusive recording.
The album is a mix of sweet soul ballads and light funk numbers characteristic of the early 70’s suggesting the outfit not only had the ability of interplanetary motion, but also the gift of travelling back through time from 1978. A cascade of strings usher the destitute ‘Lover’s lullaby’ introducing the incredible calibre of the tenor and falsetto leads, and the lush, velveteen harmonies. Bittersweet never felt so good since the Chi-Lites perfected it back at the turn of the decade. The next track was clearly played to death to extrude any correlation with space travel and their constant reference to ‘Skyboat, in the sky’. There is an admirable nod towards some of the The Dramatics funkier moments again showcasing wonderful vocal performances. ‘To get to Heaven’ has a tremendous tenor exalting the prize of leading a virtuous life, skipping along with a slight jazzy gusto. Lovely. This is followed by the disco-dabble of ‘It’s so lonely’, which to me is a slight failure due to the screeching falsetto lead and screeching violas competing unnecessarily. Far more agreeable is the Motown-esque ‘One way or the other’, with a cracking lead squeezing gallons of fizzy emotion from the song accompanied by some delightful chord changes. Masterful. ‘So much love to give’ is a frilly pop number that has a great vocal, but little else to offer this listener. That disappointment remained for the next track, albeit a slight improvement . Both tracks felt contrived, and not nearly as comfortable as the rest of the LP with a bygone era. Aaah, that’s much better. I can soak all that tension away in a silken bath of poignant petals of foam, ‘Beautiful lady’ is simply gorgeous, and wonderfully produced. A major accomplishment by all concerned. What sounds like a different member taking centre stage, ‘Supreme being’ is a competent, mildly funky ode to the Lord. They decide to sign out with the title track, which has the feel of an opus even though it times at only 4 ½ minutes. It is a very busy, wonderfully creative track consummating the platter on a positive note, reminding me again of The Dramatics which is high praise indeed.
From the evidence before me, I would suggest that these semi-celestial beings are human after all. The Dynamic Five were without doubt an A Grade troupe that could have easily competed with the best of the best with slightly better production, songs and promotion. However, this in no way undermines the importance of the record. This is yet another example of how commerciality deals out the cruellest cut when excellent records like this only find prominence in the hands of fortunate collector’s years after the artists have long been forgotten, assuming they were ever known. I for one salute Dr Soul for redressing this imbalance and I pray that maybe, just maybe, at least one of the Five has a rye smile on his face at their postponed, richly deserved recognition and the joy they are bringing to you people right now.