Help Me Out
Sharper Brothers (2016)
Available on Amazon
By Bob Marovich
Ysabella, formerly known as the Jenkins Sisters, is a contemporary gospel sister trio. Jentry, Aja, and Armani Jenkins have been singing for some time: in 2008, the group won the Word Network’s Gospel F.O.C.U.S. competition. Help Me Out is their latest recorded offering.
There’s no doubt that the ladies can sing. Their crisp and youthful harmonies, no doubt honed over years of sisterly closeness, evoke a Destiny’s Child vibe, and the title track features a churchy lead vocal over the bluesy vamp. Take away the extroverted electronica on Help Me Out, which is heavy to distraction, and you have a fine group in the style of Zie’l and early Trin-i-tee 5:7.
And that’s the bottom line: too much electronica obfuscates the group’s vocals on the seven-track album. It would be great to hear the sisters working with a more traditional accompaniment of piano, organ, drums, guitar, and bass. Further, they are at their best on songs such as the title track and “Breathe On Me,” when their vocals are more prominent and steeped in church. When they focus on R&P, their talent is harder to tease out.
In addition to singing, the Jenkins Sisters are licensed ministers. Jentry Jenkins is youth pastor at the Power House of Faith Church of Deliverance, where the ladies’ father, Juan Jenkins, is pastor and mother Beatrice Jenkins is co-pastor (Beatrice makes a cameo on the album). Aja Jenkins serves as Jentry’s assistant and Armani Jenkins is an accomplished and award-winning classical pianist.
Let’s hope the next album features Armani on acoustic piano and the trio singing the glory down, no computerized trappings allowed. That could be amazing.
Two of Five Stars
Pick: “Help Me Out”