After catching The Rising Souls performing a short set at the Edinburgh Blues Club the other week, I felt their debut mini-album from 2014 might be worth a swatch. So here we have eight tracks from the Edinburgh trio, spread over 24 minutes or so. And it has to be said that it’s an encouraging effort. With Dave Archibald on guitar and vocals, Roy ‘Kelso’ Laing on bass, and Tom Reed on box and percussion, they manage to explore a variety of styles with a relatively limited palette.
|Rising Souls, sitting down|
Opening track ‘Don’t Say You Love Me’ is a woman-done-me-wrong protest with an air of work song about its chorus, sung over a nagging bass line. It also manages to encompass an overt nod to Marvin Gaye’s ‘Can I Get A Witness?’ The following ‘Monster’, meanwhile, offers a contrastingly cool, jazzy piece of soul, with a light touch on guitar and cleverly phrased vocals from Archibald before he opens up with some urgency in the second half to insist to his girl that “I’m on my way!”
The following ‘Steady’ and ‘Fool In Time’ will inevitably provoke comparisons between Archibald and Paolo Nutini, vocally. On these songs Archibald’s singing has a slightly drawling, quavery intonation, but the most significant point is that he doesn’t ‘Americanise’ his vocals. ‘Man In Black’, meanwhile, adds some mournful harp playing to the mix, to complement its halting, shimmering arrangement.
Nutini isn’t the only resemblance that springs to mind though. ‘Sorry That I Love You’ has a riff that suggests a Stones demo, complemented by a vocal that suggests Jagger twitching in anticipation of how he might deliver it live.
Closer ‘The Boxer’ is more percussive, with a soulful chorus and some out of the ordinary, jazzy guitar chords, vaguely reminiscent of Steely Dan, and here and there conjuring up some faint, acoustic echoes of Foo Fighters’ ‘The Pretender’. But at the same time it’s a track that ploughs its own rootsy, acoustic furrow. Check out ‘The Boxer’ on Soundcloud here.
If this is the instrumental framework The Rising Souls intend to work with in the future, the challenge will be how to develop songs more fully, and in different directions. But this is a more than promising down payment for the full scale album they’re recording this summer.