First Listen – Aaries Is Back “For You”


The latest glorious release from the cherished duo known as Aaries will likely only cause further consternation on the part of fans long denied the full LP treatment from one of the most beloved, yet unsung, acts in what was once marketed as neo-soul.

They were part of the early 2000 Philly soul revival that began with artists like Musiq Soulchild, Vivian Green, and Jill Scott and such venues as Black Lily, but for reasons that will likely forever bewilder fans, Aaries never got the major label push, much less a full album release, despite once being signed to Atlantic and having several critically acclaimed featured guest spots over the last 15 years, including three on Musiq’s platinum debut album.

In the years since, it seems the shot followers hoped would take them to the next level feels more elusive than ever, as reports have come in that the soul sisters have largely left the game for more conventional lives. Yet, every blue moon, they will briefly return to surprise long-time listeners with an EP of covers or originals that never fails to be less than nourishment for the soul.

Following up 2011’s free download EP, Cover Girls, with its peerless takes on Janet Jackson’s “Funny How Time Flies” and their unique mash-up of “Don’t Ask My Neighbor/Nothing Even Matters,” the sister singers demonstrate they haven’t missed a beat in these last four years. Skillfully engineered by popular soul podcaster, DJ Conscience (aka Red Conscience Soul), this four-song EP finds Ayana and Ayinke bringing their personal pen to these intimately soulful proceedings.

While there isn’t necessarily a standout single on this playlist, there also aren’t any losers to skip either. While “Love You” brings a street wise sophistication to its cinematic production and “Let Me Know” reminds listeners of the kind of soprano work artists like Deniece Williams and Syreeta Wright regularly laid them in the aisles with, “For You” and “Always Remember” arguably boast more impressive singing on both the leads and supporting vocals. Take a listen to “For You,” and hear why the underground status of these true soul singers remains one of the great criminal mysteries in the annals of music industry. Did we mention they’re giving away this steal too? Criminal, we say!

By L. Michael Gipson

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