Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes' first album without any involvement from Teddy Pendergrass and Philadelphia International Records is better than anticipated. David Ebbo sounds identical to Pendergrass and delivers some spirited leads on the skimpy eight-song LP. Ebbo excels on "Reaching For the World," an uplifting, be-what-you-wanna-be song that sounds like a Gamble & Huff production. He continues the duet trend he started with Sharon Paige with the mellow "After You Love Me Why Do You Leave Me." Some of the songs are weak; "Hostage Pt. 1 & 2," for instance, doesn't live up to its intriguing title. Overall, though, this is a good first effort and proves that the Blue Notes' sound didn't leave with Pendergrass.