Nicole Willis & The Soul Investigators – Happiness in Every Style

Nicole Willis & the Soul Investigators_happiness in every style

Title: Happiness in Every Style

Artist: Nicole Willis & The Soul Investigators

Label: Timmion

Formats: CD, LP, MP3

Release date: October 2, 2015



Brooklyn-born Nicole Willis returns with her Finnish backing band on their third album, Happiness in Every Style. A retro-soul act in the style of Charles Bradley and Sharon Jones, Nicole Willis & The Soul Investigators offer eleven original tracks that harken back to the ‘60s and ‘70s, complete with three guitarists, a large horn section, and Hammond B3.

Opening with “One in a Million,” Willis picks on the album’s theme of love and happiness, this time in a more contemporary style:


In “Let’s Communicate,” the band settles into a funkier groove with a chucking bass line, fuzzy guitars, and punching horn sections. Switching gears, the slow groove on “Angel” is pure ‘60s pop with a psychedelic vibe. Two instrumentals add variety to the mix—the funky “Bad Viberations” and “Vulture’s Prayer”—both featuring extensive flute solos by Jimi Tenor. Other highlights include the more lighthearted “Paint Me in a Corner” and the moody, atmospheric “Thief in the Night.” The album closes with the bonus track “Hot Sauce” (previously released as a 12” single), a double entendre about slow cookin’ with lots of “hot sauce, baby!”

Happiness in Every Style makes a solid contribution to the retro-soul movement, offering tight instrumentals and solid groove underlying Nicole Willis’ smoky vocals.

Listen on Spotify here.

Reviewed by Brenda Nelson-Strauss