Review: Seth & Nirva – I Need You EP

SethandNirvaThe chances are very good that you’ve heard the artistry of Seth and Nirva Ready and don’t even know it. For the past decade or so, Nirva has worked as part of TobyMac’s Diverse City collective while Seth has sang background vocals and shared the stage with artists like Kirk Franklin, Chris Tomlin, and Donnie McClurkin, among others. But now, this musical duo is set to venture out from behind the show and is set to step right into the spotlight, bringing their signature sounds to their debut EP, I Need You. 

That sound is one that draws from some obvious influences and really speaks heavily to Nirva’s DiverseCity work. Drawing from the fields of pop, R&B, worship, and hip-hop, the Ready’s put it all into their musical blender and let things fly, with a mixed bag of results. 

Those results are most positive when the tandem is joined by one of their talented friends, such TobyMac who shines on “All Praise.” Fueled by bright synth notes and sharp pop sensibilities, it draws straight from modern Top 40 sounds to carry its message of praise and worship and works well. “Free People” is another solid jam, a playful Kirk Franklin-esque spoken word moment opening things up while smooth R&B vibes and tight percussion press things ahead, buoyed by the talents of guest Byron “Mr. Talkbox” Chambers. 

Shonlock shows up to help his friends on “I Need You (remix),” his tight, poetic flow lending the track some gravity while the track builds moodily before easing into the smooth, effortless vocal carried by Nirva while Gabe Real stops by to bring the funk on “Praise Him.” The collective’s history together shows as there are no bumps in the road, their talents all giving and taking with ease, leading to a killer track. 

Where Seth and Nirva fall prey to issues is when they’re left to themselves. Whether it’s an issue of confidence or personality, longing to be back in the shadows rather than the spotlight, the couple finds their other outings feeling somewhat anemic and lacking. It’s not for lack of talent because it’s clearly there but on songs like the slow-building worshipper “Found a Love,” the duo seems to be afraid to really let loose, which is what the track really needs. “I Need You” fares a little bit better, the arrangement and layered vocals helping to strengthen things while “Whole World” closes things out with more smooth R&B that works but doesn’t necessarily inspire. 

Seth and Nirva Ready’s first steps into the spotlight are a bit tentative but there’s plenty to be enjoyed here. From the contributions by the Diverse City crew, placing the Ready’s in a place of greater familiarity to a track like “I Need You” where they start to really come into their own, I Need You is a solid, if not perfect, kick start to a new direction in these talented artists’ lives.

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