St. Paul and the Broken Bones
The single, Call Me is available from:
The album, Half The City is released by Single Lock Records, and available via:
These Alabama soul-revivalists proved a sensation when they played SXSW. With Janeway’s captivating and riotous belt (and a cornucopia of electricity on offer) at the fore, the seven-piece are on a mission: to overwhelm and awe.
I have reviewed a fair few American acts over the past couple of years…
each with their own style and background. Most of my reconnaissances revolve around U.K. acts and artists; I find myself often yearning for some international flavours- to provide some diversity. A lot of my time is spent promoting new artists and songs; featuring L.P.s and E.P.s by fresh talent- each of whom are starting out in the music world. As keen as I am to foster British-based newbies, I always love dipping my foot into foreign waters; seeing what is available in other parts of the world- and seeing what is out there. Recently, I have been reviewing quite a few Rock and Pop acts (and artists whom cross-pollinate these genres); always impressed by the fervency and urgency of their music. Artists such as Gypsyfingers and Echo Arcadia have provided me escape; an opportunity to experience something new and different; take in the ambitions of distinct and disparate young acts- and see what direction new British music is taking. I feel that our future will be a bright one, as I have seen enough mobility, ambition and quality out there, which leads me to believe that plenty of bona fide stars-in-the-making are waiting to rise up. When I recently surveyed Arizona’s band of brothers Kongos, I was impressed by their joyousness, rambunctiousness and abandon: music was offered up that provided excitement and good times. Each American act I have come across has managed to elicit a reaction in me; stir up a particular emotion or feeling- and leave me a little stunned. Music here (in the U.K.) can be exhilarating and potent, yet I feel that there are a lot of acts doing the same thing; that the sounds are designed to impress or seduce- yet few take the trouble to try to take your breath. Of course, there are some exceptions, but the abiding feeling I am left with, is that we need more exhilaration; a wave of musicians who- through Soulful screams or Rock majesty- can not only leave you a sweaty mess, but also offer a striking sound into the bargain. Although I hear of fewer U.S. acts, when I do happen upon them, they seem to innately fulfil the points I laid out; offer up something genuinely mesmeric and different. A while back, I discovered L.A.’s The Open Feel, and was blown away by their sunshine brand of music; both sexy and breathy; hard and vibrant. New York bands have come under my radar, and have shown themselves to be purveyors of awe-inspiring sound. I have often theorised that, depending on where you are brought up, enforces your music. In the U.K., I have investigated quite a few Yorkshire-based acts; those whom seem to be providing the most diversity and potential at the moment. Electro-Swing and Folk mixes alongside ’60s Pop and boy-girl duos; riot and pummel seamlessly nestle with shimmering and romantic. It is a county that is showing the rest of Britain how it is done. In London (away from the mainstream) I tend to find that most bands are Rock-orientated. There are fewer examples of diversity amongst the bands, yet the best and brightest here are in serious danger of being ranked alongside the modern greats. Down in the coastal regions of the south, something sunnier and more elliptical lives; music that provides brightness where there is rain- it is largely light and breezy, but hugely likeable. Elsewhere, there is plenty of diversity and range; yet when it comes down to it, the U.S. seems to be leading a charge. Perhaps it is due to the sheer size of the nation, but it is staggering how the sound and nature of music changes, depending on which state you visit. Midwestern states such as Ohio, Michigan and Iowa have plenty of harder-edged bands and acts; those I have reviewed tend to play their sounds on the louder side; mixing Punk and Rock elements with of-the-moment rush. New York and the East Coast locales such as New Jersey and Washington, D.C. again provide some more forceful sounds, yet there is a huge amount of diversity too. When I listen to the music of Georgia and Mississippi, I have heard plenty of Soul, Blues and Jazz acts; each with a very distinct and different coda and projection. Nestled between these two states is Alabama- where today’s subjects hail. I shall introduce you to them soon, but before I do, I will offer an addendum. As much as the above is a laudatory statement; I feel that it can used to amend Britain’s music constitution; with a few tweaks and inclusions, our music scene can be bolstered and galvanised. The fact that the U.S. has a greater width and breadth of music is not due to land size, financial considerations- or even talent per se. There is a boldness and adventurousness being encouraged not only by the media, but the music-buying public there. A great deal of media attention here revolves around mainstream acts and certain types of music. Our new acts- in an attempt to fit into moulds- often mould themselves into what they think critics want to hear- rather than who they really are. I would love to hear some great Soul bands and acts; more Punk purveyors and Country-tinged artists. I feel there is a general fear amongst new musicians; bands often stick with a particular sound, as do solo artists- only occasionally do you get examples who buck the trend radically. As great as our best and brightest new musicians are, it would be great to hear and see more willing to follow in their footsteps; those prepared to keep their identity yet think outside of the envelope. Many may argue against my points and claim that we have plenty of music that provides this, but I get the sense that American music is a lot more carefree; less concerned with critical expectation, and as a result, bolder and more diverse. My focal point today is a seven-piece outfit whom are causing waves in their native land; providing something startling to eager audiences- and marking themselves out as one of the world’s great ‘soul revivalist’ acts. Without further hesitation, I shall get down to business.
St. Paul and the Broken Bones are, I am imagining, an act you may be unfamiliar with. Hailing from Birmingham, Alabama, it is perhaps invariable that they have been compared with their fellow Alabamians, Alabama Shakes. There is a similar forcefulness and sense of wonder between the acts, yet plenty of difference too. Alabama Shakes’ Brittany Howard is one of the most electrifying and formidable female voices in music; her tones turn the band’s motifs into something otherworldly and overwhelming. St. Paul’s lead, Paul Janeway, is a comparable force of nature; lacerating, tenderly and pugnaciously wrestling with the Birmingham outfit’s songs of love, lust and R ‘n’ B/Motown blends. Before I get into dissecting our intrepid crew, its members consist:
Paul Janeway– Lead Vocals
Jesse Phillips– Bass
Andrew Lee– Drums, Percussion
Allen Branstetter– Trumpet
Browan Lollar– Guitars, Vocals
Ben Griner– Trombone, Tuba
Al Gamble– Organ, Piano
U.S. critics and media sources have been excitedly testifying to the wonders and strengths of the Alabama group. Hot of the heals of their album, Half A City, a huge amount of kudos and paen. I hope that Britain fully latches onto the band’s unique shades, as the majority of their fan base is located in the U.S. Across social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter their numbers are rising, and it appears that the boys have an exciting and prosperous future ahead of them. When looking at St. Paul and the Broken Bones, you realise what an intriguing and fascinating back story the group has had; it is worthy of a Hollywood film in itself. The seven-piece sum it up best themselves: “Grit, elemental rhythm, tight-as-a-drumhead playing, and a profound depth of feeling: these are the promises of a great soul band. And St. Paul & The Broken Bones deliver on those promises. Half The City is the compelling full-length Single Lock/Thirty Tigers debut of the Birmingham, Alabama-based sextet, who have already created a maelstrom of interest with their roof-raising live shows and self-released four-song 2012 EP. Produced by Ben Tanner of Alabama Shakes, and recorded and mixed in the storied R&B mecca of Muscle Shoals, Alabama, the album harkens back to the region’s classic soul roots while extending the form with electrifying potency. Front man Paul Janeway’s handle “St. Paul” is a wry allusion to the vocalist’s grounding in the church. Like many a legendary soul singer, Janeway, a native of the small town of Chelsea, Alabama, was raised on the gospel side, in a non-denominational, Pentecostal-leaning local church. Virtually no non-religious music could be heard in his devout household. Janeway says, “The only secular music that I heard at all was a ‘70s group called the Stylistics, and Sam Cooke. That was about it. The rest of it was all gospel music. When I was about 10 years old, I was groomed to be a minister. My goal in life until I was about 18 years old was to be a preacher.” He adds, “My pastor was the reason that I learned to play guitar. They would let me play guitar and sing in church. What was weird was that he would never let me sing lead – I’d sing background vocals. I always thought, ‘Well, maybe I’m just a good background vocalist.’ So I never thought I could really, really sing, at all. I never thought it would be a living, ever.” Though his time in the church exposed Janeway to key influences in gospel music – the Mighty Clouds of Joy, Alex Bradford, Clay Evans – he began moving away from his youthful path in his late teens. He began attending open mic nights in Birmingham’s clubs and diversified his listening, excited by some decidedly left-of-center talents. “Tom Waits and Nick Cave were the really big attractions,” he says. “They have that passion. They’ve built this aura. They’re showmen to the teeth. And that’s what got me – it’s like going to church, in a weird way. At about the same time, I began listening to the great soul singers like Otis Redding, James Carr, and O.V. Wright. I was trying to find something that made my earbuds tingle.” Seeking his musical comfort zone, Janeway had an incongruous stint in a band that played Led Zeppelin covers, but, he confesses today, “That’s not what I do.” However, his early work in the rock vein brought him together with bassist Jesse Phillips. The pair became close friends and were soon writing together; “Sugar Dyed,” “Broken Bones and Pocket Change,” and “That Glow,” all heard on Half The City, were among the first fruits of their collaboration. The other members of the Broken Bones are all drawn from Alabama’s deep talent pool. Guitarist Browan Lollar, from the Muscle Shoals area about 100 miles north of Birmingham, previously played with Jason Isbell’s 400 Unit. “We never thought Browan would ever be interested in this band – he was too big-time for us,” says Janeway. “Jesse had met him while he was on tour with another band out of Birmingham. He asked Browan to come to the studio, and he showed up. I think we caught him at the right time. He wasn’t busy, and he said, ‘Man, I really want to be a part of this.’” Jasper, Alabama, native Andrew Lee signed on via his acquaintance with Phillips. “We just picked him up on the way to the studio,” Janeway recalls. “Jesse said, ‘I know this guy, why don’t I just call him.’ And 30 minutes later, he’s sitting there playing drums on ‘Sugar Dyed.’ Andrew’s just a hell of a drummer.” Brass players Allen Bransetter and Ben Griner are both graduates of the music program at Birmingham’s Samford University. Janeway says his vision of the band always called for a two-man horn section, a la the celebrated Memphis Horns, and he approached Griner, although the latter’s main instrument was tuba. “I told Ben, ‘Man, I’ve got to have horns. Do you think you can play trombone?’ He said, ‘I’ll give it a shot.’ And he brought Allen with him.” All six members share writing credit on 10 of the songs on Half The City, with Janeway contributing lyrics. “We firmly believe in a shared, communal writing process,” the singer says. “These guys are extremely talented. The drummer wrote horn parts. Browan threw something in. It’s very collective. We just get in a room. Sometimes we’ll have the scales for a song, or sometimes we’ll have this little riff. That’s how we do it.” In Tanner — who logged time at Muscle Shoals’ aptly named FAME Studios, where scores of memorable soul records were cut — St. Paul and the Broken Bones found a like-minded producer and label boss. Half The City is among the first releases on Single Lock Records, the imprint co-founded by Tanner, John Paul White of the Civil Wars, and Will Trapp. “When we started getting cranked up and nobody really knew who the hell we were, we got Ben to mix our original four-song EP,” says Janeway. “We just hit it off. He said, ‘Hey, guys, I’m in the process of starting this label. Obviously you can say no, but we’d love for you to be a part of it.’ And we said, ‘Hell, yeah.’” Reaching back nearly 50 years to methods employed the great epoch of deep Southern soul, Tanner and the group eschewed studio trickery for an in-the-moment approach during sessions at the Nutthouse in Muscle Shoals, AL. Fittingly, the album was mixed at FAME. Janeway explains, “We said, ‘We’re doing this as old-school as we can.’ We did it to tape. We did it live. What you hear is taken from about three takes, and we took the best take. I love it. It’s raw. You hear all the scrapes.” Special guests include Al Gamble on piano, organ and wurlitzer, Daniel Stoddard on pedal steel, Jamie Harper on baritone sax and Tanner on piano, organ and background vocals“.
We do not hear many- if any- similar acts in the U.K., and I was delighted to come across St. Paul and the Broken Bones. The guys have been on the scene for a little while now, yet their Half The City L.P. is a fresh unveiling; it has inflamed and seduced U.S. critics, and reception and feedback has been hugely positive and effusive. Given the voice that Janeway offers up, tied together with his cohort’s energizing and wonderful sonic support, it is unsurprising that a certain sense of tumescent patronage has been paid. Critics have all been eager to lend their opinions and tributes, to a truly unique and ambitious band:
“…[singer Paul Janeway) didn’t knock it back even a notch, crooning and hollering, collapsing to ground like a white James Brown sans cape, dousing himself with water and exuding more mojo than I thought a man in a blazer and bow-tie was capable of.”
Sam George, You hear This?/Weld
“Packed full of soul with that hint of Southern charm…”
The South Rail Music Blog
With their album still ringing in the ears, American audiences have been keen to investigate the boys in the flesh; our heroes have an itinerant and jam-packed schedule in front of them; taking Half The City‘s multifarious gems as far and wide as possible. I have investigate the album in its entirety, and was amazed by the conviction and pace that runs through it. A sheer sense of exhilaration and passion runs through the entire L.P., and the amount of ground cover (across the twelve tracks) is startling. Tender romance and sweat-dripping passion rub shoulders, as do moments of introspection and reflection. When chosing a perfection representation of the album’s merit, I selected Call Me. It is a single which has been in the ether for a while, and a track that has been marked out as the album’s highlight. Recently Jo Whiley extolled the track’s virtues (on Twitter); introducing it to British audiences- and ensuring that the band gained new followers in the process. A lot of U.K. critics seem to be in self-exile in their neglect and naivety, because I have only seen one publication (here) surmise the group- I will mention them in the conclusion. With its video gaining plenty of YouTube love (a rarity considering it seems to be a natural home for trolls and back-biters); Call Me is the sound of a pioneering and purposeful seven-piece, with lofty ambitions of regency and longevity.
Attribiliousness is given no quarter, here. From the first seconds, horns burst and pervade against a plinking guitar line. At first, it is quite tender and composed; delicate strings and emotive brass do their work, before the song is opened up and strikes. With its Motown-flavoured sounds, there is an energy whipped up that not only gets you to your feet, but puts you in mind of some of the late, greats- Otis Redding came to mind, initially. Janeway, however, is his own man, and with a powerful and crackling soul tone, he lays bare his emotions. Early words talk of realisations and emotional ground; with some ambiguity and mystery laid in, cards are being kept close to chests: “This ain’t the heartache/That I thought I knew/This ain’t the party/That I thought we do“. The band aptly and deftly support out hero, eliciting a smooth, sexy and powerful composition, that blends their components together. Percussion is steady but driving; guitar and bass is uplifting (and funky, somehow); in the midst of brass notes which swirl and sway. In the video for the song (see the YouTube link at the top of the review), our hero stands by the mic., side-stepping and arm-waving. Entranced by the rhythm (and perhaps his own voice) the band play around him- the boys never let the smile drop. Whether the song is surveying a broken relationship or is a calling card to a desired sweetheart, I am unsure, but you get some oblique- yet evocative- images and words summoned up; everything is pure but filthy; direct yet withdrawn. Sentiments such as “You got your limit/Baby I got mine/Six Eleven/Three Three Six Nine” perhaps have a lot more sweat than sweetness; our hero roars and powers through each line, ensuring that it fully hits home. It seems that there is some resistance around town; that some tongues are talking- causing ruction and anger in Janeway’s mind. Leonine of voice, evisceration and laceration are words that come to mind; truths are being laid down, and a weight is exorcised from his soul. When singing “We aint the lovers/That’ll tear you down/We aint the fortune /All over town” there is as much conviction here as anywhere; the ‘bama boys weave a springing, emotive and soulful storm. Without seeing Janeway, you may imagine a black soul legend; someone who resembled Redding or Sam Cooke, perhaps. It is quite surprising to see our hero and realise whom is singing the words. You would not expect that voice to emanate from him; the sense of being stunned and surprised are facets which never let up- from start to finish. We have our soulful voices from the likes of Paolo Nutini, and he especially, is one of the biggest voices in the world right now. When I listened to Nutini’s song Iron Sky, I was impressed and overcome by the raw emotion that poured forth; how wracked and pained he sounded- you are drawn into his tableaux of love and suffocating forces. Similarly, when I hear Janeway holla, his voice carries that same weight; only this time the sentiments are more redemptive and lascivious. The composition steps up a gear during the next verse (“You got to call me baby/I need you to pick up that telephone/and dial those numbers honey“), the mood begins heavier and more exhilarating; our hero waits for that call; for his beau to ring and provide relief- the sexual tension and desire is palpable. In the same way that the likes of Otis Redding tore through and dominated numbers like Try a Little Tenderness, Janeway does likewise. Whilst he may need a few more years to scale to Redding’s heights, he is as close to a modern-day equivalent as we have. There is that same immense force and conviction; the same sort of heart and soul linger beneath. Similar, St. Paul and the Broken Bones keep a sense of innocence and purity to things- of course mingled with some salacious intentions. The ideas of picking up the telephone and dialling numbers have their heart in the ’60s; there is that sense of this being an up-to-date Motown hit; it has the same sort of songbook and skin to it. The temperature and enraptured fever starts to climb once more, as our hero becomes more impassioned and direct. When the words “Hey I need you to call me/I need to hear your sweet voice/Let me, let me, let me, let me hear you again“, the voice screams and strains; it bellows and belts- you can sense here is a man on the edge of his nerves, and on the precipice of salvation. There too, is that gospel feel to Hold On as well- not a shock considering Janeway’s upbringing- and our frontman is the pastor delivering a sexual sermon- a truth both irreligious and holy. In the video, our hero weaves and moves and body (at one point you expect him to drop to the floor and do The Worm); jiving and getting lost in the song. The composition levels down a bit; there is some scratchy and funked guitar and bass; the percussion becomes less enraptured. It offers some emotional respite and relax too, and has the feel of the storm passing- and the new day beginning. With some weeping and magisterial brass coming into the fray, the sedate mood does not last long. Our hero is still in pining mode; desperate for satisfaction and sexual redemption. Again, some smoky embers of Redding nudge their way in; the band parabond and combine beautifully, summoning up a coda that implores you to dance and move your body. Foreshadowing the most intense and gravelled vocal delivery I have heard all year (outside or Iron Sky), our hero lays down the law: “I need, I need you/I need I need you baby/I need I need I need I need I need you baby/I need I need I need I need I need you baby/I got to get you to pick up that telephone“. With the song nearing its end, our hero makes one last impassioned plea- “You got your limit/Baby I got mine/Six Eleven/Three Three Six Nine“. With his voice and body worked up into a frenzy, Janeway advises: “Call the doctor/Call the nurse“, he is become demonic with lust and anticipation. The words and music end, as the sweat glistens on the floor; our crew have done their work, and it is down to the anonymous sweetheart, as to how things proceed. You get the impression from witnessing the band play, that they have their roots in Motown, Stax and Gospel music; that the heroic likes of Redding, Cooke and (Marvin) Gaye mean as much to them as anyone currently on the scene. Janeway’s voice is laced and instilled with genuine soul and credibility; he could one day rank alongside the all-time greats- yet he has his own unique voice and personality. The band themselves are constantly compelling and tight; able to update ’60s and ’70s soul themes and make them sound fresh and urgent. The inclusion and incorporation of brass adds weight and sensual lustre to their composition; the percussion and bass keep the pace controlled but add force majeure; the guitar work is authoritative, funky and filled with coolness and swagger. Overall, the track is a perfect distillation of myriad genres and time periods, funnelled through a band whom have a fond affection for the past- yet are on cusp of modern music. In the same way as our own Nutini can entrance with his voice and let his compositions overwhelm you, so too can Birmingham’s St. Paul and the Broken Bones. Until yesterday I had not heard of the band, and am glad that I have been introduced to their music. Part of the joy (as well as sorrow) of my ‘job’ is coming across bands you would not usually investigate; or else not usually know about. I will not only continue to listen to our heroes and drink in as much of their music as possible, but am compelled to understand about Janeway’s voice; how he makes it happen and where it came from. It is the instrument that symbolises the emotion and power that are present in all of the group’s songs; and is the perfect blend of vintage Soul and modern-day sounds.
I have waxed lyrical about Birmingham’s finest soul revivalists, and their magic blend of music. As much as I adore native acts, it is always great to hear what our transatlantic cousins have up their sleeves. With the likes of Kongos in my thoughts, it is hardly surprising that another American act have burrowed their way into my soul. I was staggered by Janeway’s weaving and powerhouse voice; the band are a kinship of tight and wonderful sounds; myriad emotions and movements- surmounted and emphasised across their album. Reception for Half The City has been glowing indeed:
“Hailing from Alabama’s suddenly exemplary music scene, the horn-fueled Broken Bones don’t re-create one funky groove after another. They make them sound more like the truth than any band since the Seventies. That musicianship carries Janeway and crew far, songs including “Like a Mighty River” and “The Glow” evoking Redding and Al Green. Throughout, there’s a sense that the band lives to let it all hang out – beg, scream, and shout. Alabama Shakes’ Ben Tanner sat in the producer’s chair, while recording and mixing were done in Muscle Shoals. Half the City, bona fide all around“.
The Austin Chronicle
“With such a powerful debut, St Paul & the Broken Bones may struggle to live up to the hype they’re cooking. We can’t wait to see what’s to come from them in the future, but in the meantime we’ll take what they’ve got with a heartfelt hallelujah!“
“St. Paul and the Broken Bones’ music doesn’t just mimic the sounds its members love; it regenerates the tradition. This is what happens when players are unusually in tune with each other and with the discoveries they’re sharing. Half the City is the first major recorded statement from a band already growing into greatness. Get it now, while the sweat’s still fresh“.
“…That said, Paul’s voice (the real star in this band) pairs so perfectly with Allen Branstetter and Ben Griner’s understated but inignorable horn section that you pretty much have to be an asshole not to fall in love with this band inside of 3 songs. They’ve pretty much taken what the Alabama Shakes are trying to do and perfected it. Perfected. I did not misuse that word and it’s everything I envision Essential Listening to be“.
“Ultimately, Half the City is a captivating, exceptional soul album. In a day and age where authenticity is questioned, St. Paul and the Broken Bones smash any doubts. Half the City is not an innovative affair, but given its retro-tinge, it doesn’t need to be. By all means, the goal of keeping “soul” alive and flourishing is easily accomplished here“.
“There is a gospel feel to the music which is to be expected and two songs bring religion to the forefront. A loving couple following the lord and building a life together details “Let It Be So” while “It’s Midnight” is an emotional song about a mother pleading to her son to find god and all will be well. Both songs get into your head possessing the ability to make you think about your own life… There is not a single lull in the album and when it starts playing you will pray it never ends. SP&BB have captured the essence of their live shows in Half The City which is part of the charm. The emotion, the fine tuned soulful music, the Muscle Shoals flavor and influence of producer Ben Tanner (Alabama Shakes) is the rest of what makes it so damn good. This is the best record I have listened to this year and with ten months to go I find it hard that anyone will out do it“.
“They leave enough grit on his playing and the music overall to lend some real edge to the music. Like great soul and R&B albums of yesterday, you simply press play on Half The City and walk away. This album isn’t about a couple of songs standing out. It isn’t meant to be carved up on to mixes. Fire this up and let it take you a different place“.
There is no hyperbole or ingenuous proffering; it seems that the seven-piece have captured the attentions of the U.S. media. When it comes to U.K. reviews, there has been a sparisty- thus far. I can pay testament to just how great their album is, and it would be remiss to compare the group to Alabama Shakes. Our heroes have a different sound and set of songs; the fact that they share huge central voices and hail from Alabama is where the similarities end. When it comes to The Guardian (and its critic Paul Lester), I have often found myself in agreement. However, when he introduced St. Paul and the Broken Bands (as part of his ‘new band of the day’ feature), he missed the point entirely: “… They also sound mightily like other soul revivalists past and present, US and UK, from the Commitments to Fitz and the Tantrums. You will either be old enough to warmly appreciate their fidelity to the soul pioneers from Otis Redding onwards, be young enough not to care about history and adore their R&B (’60s variety) energy, or just dismiss them as karaoke copycats merely offering a Stars In Their Eyes version of the all-time greats“. He is entitled to his opinions, but, to me, they come across at the tired ramblings of a middle-aged curmudgeon. Aghast to truly cherish and augment any new act, Lester has forged a career from half-assed sentiments and praise: a sad reflection of a great sector of the media in general. That said, our heroes are playing dates in Dorset at the end of August; if anyone is able to get down and see them, I would strongly recommend it. Their live performances have been talked about in ecstatic whispers, and it offers the chance for fans to witness the songs in their barenaked and more electrifying form. My opening thesis concerned the U.K., and our lack of true diversity and bravery. Critics such as Lester are probably not helping when it comes to overturning and rectifying this trend, so it may take a bit of time to buck the negativity. My recent reviews have featured acts whom are ambitious and diverse, and offer up a semblance of the U.S.’s musical drive. It would great to think that the momentum can continue fervently, yet it seems that there is still a degree of stigma and reticence prescient. Our Alabama heroes are the kind of act that we should not only be fostering, but taking inspiration from. We do not have the landscape and evangelicalism over here, but that is not to say that it will be impossible to appropriate a similar sense of rousing Soul. A lot of our bands are still too reliant on the guitar-bass-drum configuration; few are willing to break these rigid structures and expand their horizons. With a paucity of acts and new artists setting the scene ablaze, it is always exciting to hear acts such as St. Paul and the Broken Bones. They may play the kind of music that is rare to your stereo; a genre that you may not necessarily seek out, but I would implore you to seek them out. Perhaps they don’t have the power to convert those infatuated with Metal or Punk, but realistically they will be able to draw in a whole host of diverse music-lovers. If you only investigate one of their tracks, I would recommend Call Me wholeheartedly. It is the encapsulation of a group that are setting tongues a-wagging; the sound of a septet with a unique voice- one that demands your attention. It is- where I am not- cloudy and somewhat dour; an injection of endorphins and sunshine is needed; a kick up the proverbial bottom. For all moods, needs and occasions, when it comes to uplifting music:
YOU will be hard-pressed to find a more impressive act.
Half The City Track Listing:
I’m Torn Up
Don’t Mind a Thing
Like a Mighty River
Broken Bones and Pocket Change
Half The City
Grass Is Greener
Let It Be So
Standout Track: Call Me.
For more videos of St. Paul and the Broken Bones:
Follow St. Paul and the Broken Bones: