Track Review: Black Lady Soul- The Fall


Black Lady Soul

The Fall


The Fall is available from:

The album Black Lady Soul is available to pre-order via:

16 August 2014

The Rise (Intro.)
The Fall
El Dorado
Counting Sins (Vices Prelude)
Penny Water
Subway Fare (Penny Water Reprise)
When Lions Roar
You & Me (Corin Reprise)
The Riddle

Neo-Soul, Soul, Hip-Hop, Rock, Indie, Rap, Alternative

Determined to set themselves aside from other bands, Black Lady Soul are an engaging and hugely ambitious prospect- their self-titled debut will bring this all to life. The Fall is a song that hits you straight away; it compels repeated investigation- it stuffed with grace, power and punch. A band who seamlessly fuse multiple genres, they are among the most inventive players on the scene

I am somewhat relieved that Black Lady Soul have come along.

I will investigate the band in more depth, yet their arrival marks something of a change: a back-story and style of music that I do not get to encounter often. For so long, I have been buried beneath music: most of the acts and biographies tend to tread the same sort of lines; offer similar fascination and appeal. My featured act separate themselves apart hugely- their diverse richness and ambition has marked them out as a band with a huge future. Before I investigate the act in more depth, I will raise one key point: Street-Soul. More a genre than a point, those two words will seem unfamiliar to many- a style of music that is not often experimented with. Although Black Lady Soul have a huge range- and more at their disposal than one particular genre- you do not often find a new act that dip into the annals of urban street life. Most fledgling artists play with safer and more predictable styles- Indie, Rock and Pop are among the most popular choices. Few upcoming musicians go that bit deeper- explore something with a vibrant and cutting edge. Not only providing new and rare force, the genre of Street-Soul offers a lot of potential- it is such a wide-ranging and prosperous style of music; I am surprised more acts are not utilising it. What my featured act do is to use it as a starting block; employ its grit and darker hues- tie it to something more elliptical and redemptive. Dismayed by the lack of true originality in the mainstream, Black Lady Soul seem like an act worthy of transcending to the highest ranks- they have the ability and talent to make a big name for themselves. Completing my trilogy of Canada-based music reviews- I am sure I will be investigating more in time- the band made me smile. They were formed from an open mic night: having never met before, the members all collaborated at Big Mic– a Toronto Hip-Hop showcase. Assembled from the remnants of other bands, the boys found an instant bond and common ground- it was a night that was to start a very prosperous and fantastic career. They are in their early stages, yet have a bond and sense of solidity few of their contemporaries possess- this is enforced in their fantastic music. Compelled by their history and wide-ranging music, I could not help but to study them in more depth- find out just what makes them ticks; distill their epic sounds into words. With a few thoughts on my mind, it is best I introduce the band to you (first of all):

“Black Lady Soul embodies a dirty rock groove, while embracing urban street soul. An experience that is moody and lyrical, backed by beat-driven drums and bass, alongside smooth, dynamic electric leads. “Neo-soul” and “indie rock” are used to attempt to describe Black Lady Soul’s sound, but the genres do not justly illustrate the band’s varied creations. Their songs change wildly in style, from upbeat dance grooves to melancholic rock pieces, shifting to orchestral ballads and moving seamlessly to down-tempo beats. Their art knows no form and is eclectic in nature although it has been described as “sounds like good sex”.

Black Lady Soul are looking forward to the release of their self-titled album- it will show the world just what they are capable of. Boasting hugely impressive sounds; wide-ranging styles, plenty of ambition- the album will show new acts just how much can be achieved. The best way for music to flourish and grow is to make sure it is as deep and diverse as it can be- not just sticking with stolid and predictable sounds. Too many acts focus too narrowly- their albums and E.P.s do not really go the extra mile. When you restrict your sonic output; confine your potential output- the results are going to be stifled and limited. The acts that broaden their horizons; dip into a varied and colourful palette are those that are going to stand out- survive the test of time and reach a wide number of different people. Black Lady Soul are a band that are hard to pin down- they have myriad styles and genres at their disposal; the way they incorporate and mingle sounds together is stunning. Cemented in their lead single, the Canadian act are sure to have a long career. It is clear the boys have a great bond and understanding- united by a common cause, the sense of closeness makes them sound so assured and confident. Few new acts arrive with such a bang and sense of intent- the ambition and quality that shouts out in The Fall is a very potent benchmark. The remainder of their album has plenty of story, heart, guts and glory- the 12 tracks provide a wealth of sound and information. Before I get down to investigating the band in more depth, I’ll raise one further point- the band market. I know I have bored the pants off of many- raising this same old issue- but I am coming at it from a different angle today. Reviewing such an eclectic band, it makes me wonder why more do not employ this same adventurousness and range- how come so many new acts are limiting themselves? Perhaps there are risks involved with expanding your horizons- by instilling that degree of ambition, a sense of focus and identity is lost. I have witnessed many new acts present an album or E.P. with huge stylistic shifts- from song-to-song new genres and avenues are explored. Freewheelin’ and experimenting like an early-career Beck is only effective if you are Beck- lacking his professionalism, intelligence and authority can leave you coming up rather short. It is impressive to see bands really going for it- if you diversify and aim with a nonchalance then you risk ruining your career (and being forgotten about). It is a sticky and dangerous avenue, this- getting the balance right is a hard job; retaining a distinct personality is one of the most important considerations every new act must fulfill. Black Lady Soul do not put out something as fragmented and kaleidoscopic as The White Album– if new bands tried something so insane and barnstorming, it may frighten off critical ears. Their self-titled debut- and lead single- is not too far off of the mark- you are amazed by how many different sights, sounds and flavours they infuse into their music. Not only do they manage to make their music cohesive and engaging; they mark themselves out as one of the most arresting acts out there- those who understand the vitality of ambition and defying convention. Having heard so many great things about them; seen the fervency and praise The Fall has garnered- I feel it is prudent to delve more into what makes the band tick. They are a sturdy and expectation-defying band that are a breath of fresh air- an act that we definitely need to keep our eyes open for.

When it comes to reflecting back at the band’s past work, it is a hard task- the guys are putting down their first fully-fledged movements now. The Black Lady Soul album is going to be the first chance to see the cohabitation of the group’s stunning ambitions and sounds. Our heroes offer up and provide unique experiences: their live performances are legendarily energised and memorable- fans have come away open-mouthed and revitalised. The marriage of dirty Rock grooves; that underbelly of silky Soul- coupled with a dynamic and stirring electricity- stands the band aside from most of their peers. As the group are formed off of the back of others, it is difficult to tie them in with past endeavours- what you hear now is a fresh and urgent new sound. The most contextually apt thing to do is to judge them on their mission statements and current moves. Having a distinctive and textured flavour, Black Lady Soul are a fresh breath of air- followers of nobody. It is going to be interesting to see how they follow-up their album- whether they look to do another L.P.; a series of E.P.s- or offer up some singles intermittently. Judging their present state of mind and ambitions, it is highly likely we will see more material in 2015- the momentum they will garner (from their album) should compel them to redress to the studio; lay down some new cuts- unleash them on the public. It is impressive how quickly and assuredly the band have put together their album: not contented to dangle their toes in the water; the group has gone straight in with a vibrant and full-bodied assault. Showcasing no loose edges at the seams, the boys come straight in with direct and meaningful intent- they have fervent and overflowing creative minds. Their next year should see them tour extensively; enthrall North America- in addition to wider avenues. Whatever material does arrive (will build from their current songs)- perhaps new inspiration will be provided; new genres explored and mastered. The great thing about the band is their range and multitudinous grasp: being so open and nuanced, they have huge potential- let’s hope this translates into some incredible future sounds. For now, the lads are sitting back and seeing how their album is received- the reception should be universal; most people will be giving it an assured thumbs-up. The affirmative, intriguing and fascinating songs (they elicit) will see them score hordes of new fans and supporters- putting them on the road to the mainstream.

When it comes to influences and inspirations- that have compelled the band- there are a few names I could offer in. One of the bands that come to mind- when analysing Black Lady Soul’s experimental side- is Portugal, The Man. The Alaskan band have a huge reputation for big ambitions (and a vast array of styles). On their album Evil Friends, they brought synths. and warm elements in- songs shift and change course over the space of a few seconds. With the tracks mobile and unpredictable, it is a thrill-ride that never lets go. Psychedelia and R ‘n’ B flavours come into the mix; distorted guitars and washed-out electronics augments the band’s luster. Backed by phenomenal productions; worldly and cutting lyrics- that tackles a range of issues and subjects- it is a stunning and assured album (from one of the world’s most prolific acts). Looking further back, In the Mountain in the Cloud is a dreamier and deeper album. Whereas Black Lady Soul combine elements of both albums, you can hear touches of Mountain‘ in their single The Fall. Cohesiveness and warmth mingled with edge and passion- on In the Mountain in the Cloud– an evolved album that tied together all of their previous work. Black Lady Soul delves deep and far- they have a tender and composed heart; their music wraps in blissed-out guitar riffs; teasing and tempting vocals- a whole host of different sounds and experiences. When Portugal, The Man unveiled Church Mouth, some of their primal urges came forth. Mixing in Led Zeppelin’s raw Blues sounds with some elements of Jane’s Addiction- it was a harder and more primitive beast. Songs with such drive and passion were always likely to prick critical ears- the fact the boys offered their own unique take on Zeppelin’s style was impressive. Countermelodies infuse with overlapped vocals- the band’s stream-of-consciousness deliveries did provide some mixed reviews. Whilst a lot of the lyrics and vocals suffered a lack of intelligibility, the sounds they proffered meant the album stood up to repeated listens- it is a deep work that ages incredibly well. When I look back at The Satanic Satanist– one of Portugal, The Man’s best works- there are some toned-down and warm Pop moments. Less experimental than later works, it has bright and breezy middles- the falsetto vocals and beautiful cores made the album resonate with fans. Crystal sounds and Chamber-Pop tracks bonded with ’60s Groove-Rock; Motown jams- the album’s friendliness and familiarity meant there were no derivative moments. Flawlessly crafted- and boasting wonderful chord progressions- it is one of the band’s fullest works. Black Lady Soul draw in swathes of Portugal, The Man’s past work. The Fall shows heartfelt and softer moments; it changes directions and course- the melting of various styles and sounds gives the song a huge weight of conviction. Whilst a brand-new band, it seems they could- one day- ascended the heights of Portugal, The Man- provide the music world the same sort of nourishment and quality. When looking at Street-Soul acts, The Roots are a name that occurred. If we consider their album Things Fall Apart, we can see some causal links. The Roots’ panache for promoting irresistible beats and smooth rhythms makes the album such a terrific work. Hip-Hop elements are provided with deep and thought-provoking lyrics- the band look at life on the streets and issues of poverty, wealth and reality. Black Lady Soul address comparable themes and topics: their ideals investigate the harsher elements of life; go beyond normal and predictable areas- delve deep into very relevant and pressing cores. In addition to sharing The Roots’ lyrical themes, Black Lady Soul create unpredictable instrumental lines; nimble rhythms and fantastically addictive tracks- that was fully addressed in Things Fall Apart. When The Roots unveiled The Tipping Point, they included Sly & the Family Stone shades; popping and locking beats come out- head-bobbing jams and well-constructed tracks shine through. Although Black Lady Soul have a bigger range (than The Roots) there are some familiar D.N.A. strands- those deep and meaningful lyrics; the mixture of addictive and upbeat sounds; the unpredictability. When surveying Black Lady Soul’s experimental drive, Beck entered my thoughts. Odelay is perhaps the most assured and stunning Beck album- the disc that showcases the man’s full genius. The 1996 masterpiece is one of my favourite; I am a fan of the likes of Guero and Modern Guilt– albums that show he has lost little of his steam and charm. In addition to being one of the finest albums of the ’90s, Odelay saw Beck confound expectations. The album joined shorter bursts with longer, sprawling songs- Black Lady Soul’s debut has a similar flair for concision and economy. Black Lady Soul provide collages and rainbows of sonics; they toss together disparate styles and genres; mix it together- come up with jam-packed and dizzying nuggets. Dirge-Blues numbers like Jack-Ass sit with hazy and brilliant cuts such as Where It’s At. Although Beck lobbed everything into the pot, the album does not feel over-stuffed or too rushing- the album flows smoothly and gives the music a dense sound. Soul reworks (Hotwax) and Rap reinventions (Where It’s At) are as comfortable with Blues juggernauts (Devil’s Haircut)- the man seemed to have no limits. Odelay is complete and solid; every track is compelling and gripping- because of that insane ambition and cornucopia of sound. Black Lady Soul show a similar attitude towards genre restrictions: their music hops and diverts; they cut-and-paste different strands into songs- the results are incredible. Beck draws in the listener with his tales of down-on-his-luck street life: his tracks pound the concrete and take you into bawdy and seedy sidewalks. Rough-hewn clubs are documented in Where It’s At; the man is disaffected and disconnected (in other numbers)- there is no heavy reliance on love songs and the first-person narratives. Black Lady Soul match Beck’s blend of deep and affecting lyrics with a maverick’s approach to sonics- the band are no hipsters; they have an authoritative ear for composition that bellies their embryonic state. When listening to the guitars and vocals on The Fall, a few names entered my consciousness. Soundgarden are a band that Black Lady Soul have never been compared to- I am sure they are not one of their biggest influences. Not quite matching Chris Cornell’s possessed and demonic screams, there are touches and suggestions of his graveled and groaning lowest notes. Superunknown– one of my favourite albums- shows a band at the peak of their powers. The album looked at alienation and despair- perhaps more harrowingly than In Utero– and is a phenomenal achievement. Soundgarden look at dislocation and depression; the harshness and struggle of modern life- the sense of repression and upheaval everyone has to face. In so much as I detect some Cornell-esque vocal hues, some of Black Lady’s themes and lyrics could fit within Superunknown. Black Lady Soul infuse Stoner-Rock licks- the likes of which Kim Thayil cemented- with galvanised, kinetic and catchy sounds. In addition to some passionate and masculine vocal distinctions, Black Lady Soul’s leader has a range and depth in his voice- capable of sky-scraping power and intense focus; it is a full-blooded and unrestrained animal. When put high in the mix, the vocals are given a chance to shine and guide- at times you wish the voice was higher still. Soundgarden- on Superunknown– dabbled with Pop and Psychedelia; they offer more detailed and melodic songs- everything blossoms and holds onto you. Black Lady Soul let their heart and soul become bleak and introverted: when they look around at the streets and dangerous corners, their pen bleeds readily- that same hard-hitting emotion- that Cornell is synonymous with- defines their work. It would be great to see Black Lady Soul incorporate some Grunge elements into future releases- perhaps coming up with something Soundgarden-esuqe. The Fall provides some scintillating and rapturous guitar work. When the strings spark and combust, I am reminded of Jack White. Perhaps more similar to his solo work- than his White Stripes tenure- there is a detectable similarity. Blues-Rock crawls and lascivious jams made Lazaretto such an instant hit- an album that showed White’s fastidious work ethic (it leads to wonderful results). Lazaretto saw fewer monster riffs: the album is a weirder and more unsettling listen- there is rife anger and accusatory slams; cagey, unhinged and itinerant. White is a diarist-cum-mad inventor: an artist that is focused as well as shape-shifting. Black Lady Soul’s guitar work has aspects of White’s ferocious and bizarre edges- if you listen to The Fall, you can imagine White would nod his head in approval. The band also instill some of White’s disaffectedness and overt anger into their pot- the malaise directed towards the current generation can be heard in Black Lady Soul. The word ‘sex’ is synonymous with the band- whether fables or urban myths, fans have been known to get their rocks off to their songs. It is hardly a huge stretch when you consider it: that seductiveness-cum-sexuality that eek through in their wicked sounds is enough to make a eunuch horny. Not relying on inflamed and rambunctious strings- to get the juices flowing- the vocals are appropriately louche and drunken. When I was reviewing The Fall, I caught whispers of Pixies and The Mars Volta. A lot of the track remains controlled and focused; our frontman lets his slithering and cooing instrument rouse forms of terror, shadow and conviction. When you hear some of Doolittle‘s (Pixies album) whispers and slurs- parts of Tame and Gauge Away- hat theatric and insistent draw echoes in the vocals. Through The Fall– you sense explosions are imminent- when the high-points do arrive, they pack plenty of punch. The Mars Volta showed melting beauty and insanity on Frances the Mute. The vocal work brought every song into clear view: visceral and powerful projections stand the lyrics out; ensure the listener is attentive and enraptured. Whilst more restrained than The Mars Volta, Black Lady Soul ensure the vocal work is equally imperious: their album also injects plenty of brilliance and far-reaching musical ambitions. Frances the Mute seemed like a live album: the sounds and performances are raw and bare- Black Lady Soul’s production values promote that same direct live sound.

The Fall does not so much as begin with a bang- more like an interrobang. Questions and exclamations are raised within the squalling and frightening opening seconds. Tense, nervy and high-pitched; the strings are elicited with a menacing receipt- the listener is jarred into life with its unsettling force and shriek. Twanging and soulful bass notes are louche and cool: juxtaposing the infantile cry of before, they calm the senses- make the listener relaxed and at ease. Soon the two factions unite; joined with direct and driving percussion, the song’s intro. mutates and evolves- within 25 seconds the band cover a wider sonic spectrum (that most acts pull off in an entire song). Ensuring the fascination levels do not drop, the parable never escapes your attentions. The occasional sharp high-pitched utterance is blended with the bouncing and burbling iciness of the bass notes; the light and impassioned percussion adds colour and soul- the ensuing cocktail is dizzying and hypnotising. When our hero arrives to the mic., his voice instantly hits the mark. Sounding like no other, his tones have a hushed whisper; a gravel and growling undertone- resonating conviction and passion to boot. The lyrics intrigue the senses and compel the mind- both direct and byzantine; oblique and meaningful, you search for deeper meanings. “Sweet on her eyes/flutter and refined” are the initial offerings- the way the lines are projected really enforce the words. I imagine some quixotic and alluring heroine; a mercurial and beautiful blend that is causing twitterpation and unparalleled lust. The way our frontman breathes and punctuates his words gives the lines a sensuality, seductiveness and lustful quality. When our man is alone, he is a “beggar in your honied home.” I love the way the last word is delivered: submissive and tongue-licking, it puts me in mind of the likes of Black Francis and Kurt Cobain. I did not mention Nirvana- when looking at comparable bands- and perhaps should have. There are definite hints of Francis in the delivery and slight eccentricity; Cobain’s masculine heart and inimitable tones show themselves- I do not often get to hear these two mixed together a lot. Bolstered by that rousing and indelible composition, events get heated and more amplified: the vocal roars and becomes scratchier; possessing Grunge elements and Soundgarden-cum-Nirvana-via-Pixies swagger. Our hero claims that “Under you is the truth“: perhaps it looks at literal falling and gravitational pull; my mind was taken to the bedroom. Metaphors for sexual positions and control, it seems like we are in the fire of a passionate encounter- the woman is perhaps using our man and trying to control things. I may be over-reaching and digging too deep; I suspect the band do not mean their words in a literal sense- they encourage the listener to think harder and let the music enforce their mindset. When our relegated frontman proclaims “Maybe I am no use to you“, you can pick up on that deflated and angered façade- you know that a huge expressive burst is just around the corner. It does come; before we get there, Jazz elements- the bass breeze; finger-clicks; sedate and romanticised flow- bonds with eerie and spectral Grunge/Indie motifs- the band showcase just how fertile and unrestrainable they are (as sonic innovators and masters of their craft). When our hero comes back to the throng, his voice is spiked and reinforced. The words are spat and studded; he lets his tongue sting and stutter- the urgency and potency which with he delivers the lines are hard to ignore. “You took it too far” it seems; the heroine perhaps has been screwing our man around; overplaying her hand and forcing issues. The beauty of the song is down to the open nature of the words: as I scan the lyrics, the lines could apply to governmental forces; life in general; dark forces suffocating the soul- your mind does not have to go straight to romantic possibilities. Every listener has their own take and interpretation- that is the gift music gives- yet I am sure the band have an absolute truth- it will be interesting to see how it differs from my offerings. With one lobe of my brain towards the sweat of the bed; the other concentrated towards gritty and urban dislocation, the track keeps on pounding and campaigning. Enthralled by the intense and urgent vocal; the continued flair and fascination of the composition, you are curious to see how things work out. The band fill in a lot of the story’s chapters- their tight and intuitive performance makes The Fall so heartfelt and authoritative. Completely in line and as one, the unified brothers ensure every note and crepuscular semi-quaver is gleaming with lustful and lascivious wealth. Our frontman is in philosophical and considerate mood: when singing “am I the mirror you choose?”, I begin to wonder about my initial impressions- I am leaning towards lines that look at fractured relations and the nature of truth. The beguiling and frustrating tease the lines promote get your mind working overtime: forced into overdrive, you endlessly dig beneath the surface- try to gain some semblance of cohesion and well-founded fact; understand just what is being reflected. That oblique nature makes the song so impressive and tantalising. After the linear and straight-ahead projection of the previous lines, the song shows some more compartmentalisation- the next lines are woozily and dreamily drawled; in the throes of exhaustion and disarray, our hero becomes enraptured in the spindly and lucrative Jazz backing. Some of the final thoughts offer deep and penetrative glimpses- into our man’s psyche. Stating “Beauty in the darkened room is everybody else/she is you she is me she” your thoughts (once more) percolate and extrapolate- it is yet another nugget that takes your brain in different directions. Before you can delve into the recesses of your own imagination, the band ensure you focus upon them- a firestorm, barn-storming riff is pulled out of the bag. Spacey, electric and deranged, it is the sort of line Muse would kill for- you could see it scoring a Absolution-era gem. Eviscerating and punishing, the squealing and brutalised guitar regime bays for blood- backed by double bass, it is a perfect storm. That jazzy and refined element works well against the undisciplined and spoiling-for-a-fight menace of guitar- Jekyll and Hyde all at once. Propelled by some avalanche percussion and guiding bass notes, the song keeps building up and up- our man is not done talking yet. The chorus comes back into play- almost acting as a final fit; his final belly ache. Not prone to pouting or tantrum, our hero is strong and forceful- when delivering his lines- he knows there is nothing he can do, and senses he will have to walk away. The final 20 seconds provide some form of closure and deliverance: the echoed and space age guitars keep pervading; the percussion is more temporized and delicate- the mood starts to come down and settle. With one final burst and throw of the dice, a lightning flash is presented- the song comes to an end. Being only 3:41, it staggering how much ground is covered; the reactions (the song) provokes- you are compelled to replay the song time and again. Assuaging any cynicisms or doubts- that a band with so much at their disposal can sound focused- The Fall is a triumphant and glistening track. Providing the first taste of Black Lady Soul, it will have many mouths salivating in anticipation- I am going to be one of the first to snap up their album.

It has been great stepping away from albums for a bit- I have been reviewing songs recently; in fact the next two reviews I will write are singles. As much as I love seeing a band offer a full L.P., it is terrific to be able to focus on one particular song- pick it apart and try to get to its heart. Most of the time, I can interpret tracks pretty well- I have a few misses but my strike rate is pretty high. With The Fall, I hope I have got some way near the mark- one suspects the band will correct me with regards any misinterpretation and over-analytic insights. The song is so deep and fascinating, it is a track you will hopeless try to understand and crystallise- the lyrics have that seductive blend of directness and distance. Speaking about love- or perhaps wider considerations- it is a track that is impossible to dislike. It speaks to everyone; in a way every listener can find something relatable and personal in the words- we have all been in similar situations; the same thoughts and outpourings in our mind. Before I pat the band on the back, I will give some last impressions (on The Fall). Within their album, the boys will explore multiple genres and sounds: concision and ambition are hallmarks that will make it an essential purpose. As taut and meaningful as anything they will produce, The Fall is a track that hits you straight away- it has such a unique and odd beauty is it impossible not to fall in love with. Providing some Grunge elements- it will be great to hear this explored more in future records- the band tie in Jazz and Soul; some Pop moments nestle beneath- that Urban/Street-Soul fusing runs rampant throughout. With a determined and impressive centre, the planets that orbit the core are no less startling- each of the instruments and lines perfectly unite with one another. A song that never outstays its welcome; one that never needlessly rallies and shouts, it wins plaudits because of its contrite elements. It may seem odd- given Black Lady Soul have such an array of weapons- but the boys do not go overboard or jam too much in- they ensure that a muscular and urgent sound enforces the words; the way they blend this with compositional innovations is stunning. Eerie and spacey, hard-hitting and venomous; you are left impressed by the quality and passion throughout The Fall. Few modern bands produce such deep and intelligent music- it is a sad fact- so it is great the likes of Black Lady Soul are upon us. The boys are fully in-tune and of the same: their close relationships and bonded souls mean the song is tight and professional. Seamlessly coming across as a live recording and well-rehearsed, I love how assured and rounded the track is- I can point at no foibles or quibbles whatsoever (they’ll be relieved to hear!). The vocalisations and singing is what lodges in my brain. Having heard no singer like Black Lady Soul’s leader, I was taken aback by the performance. At once restrained and domineering, I was caught up in the mesmeric effect of his pipes- the projection, emotion and pacing brings life to the song’s lyrics. At once syncopated and unusually-paced, the next levelled and punchy; the distinctions brought in make the song so compelling and layered. Drawing in brief suggestions of Black Francis, Kurt Cobain and Cedric Bixler-Zavala- it is a heady and unexpected brew defined by a stark originality and personality, the vocal is rare and distinct- few modern singers dare to be themselves these days. The guitar work throughout The Fall is insatiable and unleashed: always showing itself as a threat, the divine and ghostly string stings lodge in your brain- in the intro. they are particularly effective. When psychedelic and psychotropic swathes are lashed, you see another side to the guitar- something full-bodied and intractable. Showcasing as much range and nuance as the vocals, the guitars say so much without having to flex too much. Double bass and bass notes provide guiding light and stability- in addition to offering drive and emotion. Few listeners would expect to hear a double bass feature on a song like The Fall– or any for that matter: chic, groovy and sophisticated, it is the mature and refined gentleman of the piece. By no means effete or minor, a passionate heart and soul is summoned up- those Jazz elements give the song so much light and fascination. Percussion strides are elicited with great consideration for atmosphere and story- they do not aimless smash and fill in the blanks. Austere and firm when needed; loose and playful towards the outro., the percussion is one of the song’s most important comrades. When the chorus arrives, it becomes tightened and more teeth-bearing- truculent and galvanised, you cannot escape its draw and lure. All of the combined elements- including some leading and lyrical bass work- make The Fall such a gem. The band are committed to what they are performing; determined to make the song stick and pervade- I predict big things for the boys. They seem ready-made for the big leagues- they sure as hell need to come to London and put their music on the capital’s stages.

Having burbled and rambled for a while- sorry about the word count- my loquaciousness and excitement is well-founded: this Canadian group are a distinct and brave act that deserve big succeed. Too many new artists play things safe: arrive with a honed and restricted sense of lust- too concerned with nailing a particular sound or style. So much more can be obtained when you widen your sights; take the time to do something different and genuinely new- Black Lady Soul have impressed me greatly. Before I heard about the band- they contacted me to see if I would like to review their single- the music they present was a little fresh to me. Certainly I had not heard anything quite like The Fall: that fascinating and fresh sound; a vibrant tale from a very hungry and dedicated band. It will be fantastic to see how their album is received by the general public- just what sort of praise and feedback the boys will be reaping. The early signs and impressions are all very encouraging: The Fall has been garnering widespread YouTube acclaim- commentators and listeners have given it a resounding thumbs-up; impressed by its intoxicating sound and terrifically engaging quality. I hope that my words have done justice to the song; drilled down to its bedrock- assessed it the way the boys would see fit. If I haven’t, then apologies; the band have such a sense of force and defiance, you find yourself scrambling to find the right adjectives- f*** just about sums it up. The music industry is getting pretty packed and claustrophobic at the moment- as I speak, 3000 new boy bands have formed; 20,000 Indie groups have named their first single- the competition is pretty damn high. The growth of musical output almost parallels the worldwide birth rate- it is exhausting keeping a track of all the musicians coming through. Too many acts and solo artists have such a thin and hollow skin- they make a decent stab of things but essentially just get in the way of things. The acts that project something more compelling should be brought to the forefront- not only to set a good example but appeal to as many listeners as possible. Over the next few days, I am reviewing two stunning female artists- Nina Schofield and Dana McKeon- who are two of the U.K.’s most compelling and fascination young artists. Their combined make-up provides electrifying Pop and passionate vocals; street sounds and modern-life mandates- plenty of sex appeal and restrained beauty. I am loyal to Britain and the wonders we provide- I am equally keen to see international acts flourish and gain a multi-national foothold. Incandescent, virulent and artistic, the Black Lady Soul boys are the rarest of things: a band that retain a distinct identity but do so with such a wide-ranging and eclectic projection. Street-Soul is a sound and form of music that does not do a lot of bidding down this way- we have Rap, Grime and Hip-Hop; nothing that really sounds quite the same. I know just what the lads are going to bring forth- with the release of their album- the beautiful and quiet moments; orchestral and symphonic moments; dancing grooves and introverted Rock pieces- it will be dizzying to see just what they manage to come up with. If The Fall is anything to go by, we will be hearing a hell of lot from these Canadians- a band that are not hear for a short stay. I shall wrap up in due course, but will leave you all with one consideration: the music of 2015. Having seen some great mainstream acts fly high- from La Roux to Sam Smith- it makes me wonder just how things will fare for the new musicians- who will survive and which ones will fall. When reviewing various acts- from all across the world- I instinctively know who will be around for years to come; who will capitulate and crumble; which are less predictable. Black Lady Soul are in their infancy; they have a lot of music to put out- the good thing is that there will be a big market for them. If they were a tired and fatigued Rock act, then I would not be so assured- the fact that their first steps are so forceful leads me to believe that they will do just fine. As I bid farewell to Canada- for a week at least- I have seen some diversity and huge quality- from the three bands I have assessed this last week. If this damn nation keeps stamping out such terrific acts, I may well have to move over there- somewhere that isn’t too cold at least! The U.K. is offering some phenomenal and terrific music; Canada is still edging the race by a slight gap- I am still unable to fathom just how they do it. Whilst I draw up some equations- to try to crack it- I will let you investigate a bright and stunning act- one that proffers something genuinely unexpected and bountiful. Make sure you listen to The Fall; pick up their album and fully explore an ambitious and bold group of young men- those who cannot be labelled and defined by particular genre guidelines. The Canadian chaps float to the heavens like a balloon; glide the breeze with a sense of freedom and independence- both ethereal and eye-catching. It is my hope the lads will come to the U.K. and let their Black Lady Soul add colour to our lives. Until then, I shall say one thing: Bye bye black balloon…

SEE you real soon.


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