The London Souls: The London Souls


Those who listen carefully and instinctively know when the soul of music has revealed itself.  It’s an honest fabric that can be sewn from a live performance or a single recording and can be sought out behind diverse layers in many different sound forms.  This summer, New York-based trio The London Souls, add to that vibration with the release of their debut self-titled record, produced by Ethan Johns at Abbey Road Studios in London.  Multi-dimensional, both instrumentally and in terms of their style of writing, The London Souls curate a generation of rock that was closely identified with a late 1960s, mid 1970s image of sound.   

The groove progressively grows in the opening to “I Think I Like It,” a high energy driven momentum-shifting piece that defines the live sound The London Souls to the full extent.  “They said your sex is needing my expertise,” sings Tash Neal in the second verse as he and bassist-singer Kiyoshi Matsuyama split vocals on a call and recall throughout the entirety of the song.  During a distortion-laced bridge section, Neal crashes through with a break-in-and-enter type of solo that aggressively grabs the listener and gets the message across.                

What stands out additionally about The London Souls is their ability to create a flow between song styles, but the tracks equally share a meaning to the context of the record.  On the acoustic based track “Grounded” Neal adds a softer more restrained vocal tone as he harmonizes smoothly with Matsuyama’s higher pitch.  An islandish reverb effect adds a unique break leading into the closing chorus of the song.  The placement of this piece is important for previewing the direction of the next track, “Stand Up;” a high tempo stick-it-to-the-man type of attitude piece that rips independence out of the speakers.  On the closing track, “The Sound,” Drummer, Chris St. Hilaire goes off on a young Mitch Mitchell-esque sporadic drum fill that opens up the electricity of the introduction.  St. Hilaire’s drumming on the entire record is notably superb as he operates in his own rhythmic universe but is in such synchronization with everything else happening within the music.  The transition towards the end of “The Sound” diverts the path of the song into a psychedelic realm but is brought back in sequence in the final chorus with Neal’s raspy vocals.         

Each instrumental and vocal component of this trio act on a localized level but are brought together live cohesively and effectively.  The London Souls are that band you’ll want to introduce to that girl you’ve been dying to ask out, but haven’t built up the nerve to yet.  Just go with it, because she too will “know the soul of the band is the sound.”

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