Review: Soulmat836272's ‘Ten Stories Up’
18 February 2014
It’s been a while since Soulmate came out with an album but ‘Ten Stories Up’ has been well worth the wait.
Front man Rudy Wallang cited unsatisfactory distribution and marketing as a reason for the previous albums ‘Shillong’ and ‘Moving On’ not doing well and hence waited out for this one. The band isn’t signed to any label as yet and is on the lookout for a record company that will market and distribute ‘Ten Stories Up’ and do justice to it. Anyone?
That aside, this is an album that has been mixed in a manner that makes you can feel as though you are listening to them play live. The investment at Yash Raj studios and working with Shantanu Hudlikar has been well worth it. Wallang explained, “we finished recording the tracks in 10 days and I think is pretty quick and neat.” We’d tend to agree. The band sounds just the way it should and Hudlikar has taken ample care to make sure that happens.
Here’s a track by track review of ‘Ten Stories Up’:
Sunshine - Opens with one of my favourite guitar riffs. Rud837516's vocals are pitched in a manner that does837560't overpower the music but seamlessly blends in. The solos in the bridge are mindblowing with regard to improv. But post the powerful start, there is a beautifully mellowed version that creeps in.
I’m A Woman – Tips takes the lead here corresponding to the rhythms that follow. The riff is cavernous and what’s more, the drums take the lead in keeping the time rather than anything else. Tips is almost as wild - smoothly riding the pitch and taming it. The bass can be heard clearly and for once, Leon Wallang’s efforts are audible.
Lie – A pensive track in comparison to the other offerings on the album. Tips is free, honest and sincere here which makes this sound convincing enough. Rudy then comes in and despite the track being almost 9 minutes long, you won’t get bored or distracted.
Tell Me – This is something I heard once or twice at their gigs - the manner in which the beats are sustained and managed are commendable. The track gives a nod to a more jazzy style but the vocals brings it back and roots it in the blues.
Sadness – Of all the tracks on the album, this one kind of moves into a set, monotonous frame and didn’t leave such a lasting impression.
The Dream – This is a very personal song that portrays Rudy’s journey, his love for the genre and has a very simple feeling to it. The narration is weaved in very well and that is what makes the track enjoyable.
Hear Me Woman – This track goes into the roots of blues music with regard to the scale (3rd and 2nd minor) and the progression is also typical. The dominant (V) turnaround is specifically seen here and those who truly appreciate and understand the blues must check this out as an exercise. The manner in which the bent notes come in and Rudy’s skill is showcased here is quite exquisite.
I’ll Be Around – The very beginning takes you right to the dance floor and the drums are more prominent than the riffs which makes it a perfect track to groove to. However, the commonality of the composition may not really make this a star in the album.
Keep The Blues Alive – Soulmate showed their love by singing this track at the end of the show. The keyboard takes the lead here and one can sense the efforts by each band member coming in and proving their mettle.
Nobody But You Lord (traditional) – The track may not be enjoyed by many but this is almost like a prayer and hence to dislike it may not be apt after all. Tips has changed her tone for the song and sounds pretty mellowed, almost like Amy Winehouse while singing this one. And one can be impressed by her vocal range that can scale the rainbow… almost.
Words: DIvya Naik