T.W.O Plus is the fifth album from Tunde and Wunmi Obe, the lovable couple who hit their creative peak in the oughties, when they enjoyed viable careers in music, film and comedy. They are no longer the top draw they once were but if the sound of T.W.O Plus is anything to go by, there is still a lot of musical energy left to spare and maybe also, a lesson or two for the present day pop star.
These lessons will not include tips on how to craft the perfect hit single or club banger. For no matter how good T.W.O Plus is, there is still no stand out track that will guarantee a sure-fire hit. The Patorankings and Kiss Daniels seem to have cornered that market and do not need any help in that regards.
But if these young guns are willing, they would visit T.W.O Plus for what it represents. In an industry that isn’t quite as welcoming to acts over the age of 40, T.W.O Plus has the Obes opening a new chapter in their storied career. One in which they are holding the forte for what probably passes for adult contemporary pop music in these parts.
T.W.O Plus opens with Omonsa, a groovy, uptempo mix produced by Del B and obviously inspired from the highlife sounds of Ghana. It’s a passable album opener that calls willing participants to report to the dancefloor. They do not say much that makes sense here but feel good is the theme that predominates. This subtle but groovy feel continues on the flirtatious Te amo and the mandatory nuptial special unimaginatively titled Wedding day where the couple, married for 17 years, generously share marriage tips. There is a caveat though as they warn that what works for them may not necessarily trickle down.
Wunmi, the more adventurous of the duo, continues to try her hand at rap and produces a passable verse on Without your love that compliments her man’s smooth vocal runs. The result goes down neatly, like fine wine. She also proves she can belt it out with the rest of them on the broadly stretched chorus of Bianu.
They get support from big friends like 2face Idibia (Green white green), Segun Obe (E dide), 9ice (Ayanmo) as well as from not so big friends; Dammy Krane (Woske) and Floss (Bianu).
The sounds on T.W.O Plus run the gamut from pop to highlife, R&B to reggae, dance and even flirtation with light Fuji and Juju melodies. It all makes for a fine cornucopia of sound that isn’t always easy to pin down but remains pleasing nonetheless.
Some of the songs on the 15 track disc do not quite work out well. Examples include the all over the place Dammy Krane assisted Woske, the Wedding day song and it’s hard to imagine even the most diehard of fans singing along to Crazy rumours, an erratic kiss off to them haters.
But the strength of the disc lies in its cohesiveness of sound. It works as an album for the most part, and is one of the better conceived records you will be listening to this year.
– Wilfred Okiche