CD Review: Drunk Souls, Revolution

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May 25

Drunk Souls, RevolutionIt’s been said that the French don’t do rock well, but they sure can do reggae. Revolution is the latest and best proof: a vibrant, intelligent, edgy, musically inventive album by a group called Drunk Souls. Consider it a reggae updating of Talking Heads as influenced by Manu Chao, touched by the mordancy of Tom Waits. You’ll love it. The vocals are mostly in English, sometimes in French, and once in a language unknown to me; written lyrics are provided.

The disc opens with a propulsive rhythm that helps the singer wake up and face the world: “Damn, there’s a voice in my head trying to get me out of my bed.” Fortunately for us, he does indeed kick off his lethargy and becomes concerned about topics other than himself, as in the very next song, over a Bo Diddley-inspired variation on reggae’s one-drop and supported by an impressive horn riff, he sings “I got to find my place in this human race.” And so the quest for “a better heaven” begins, covering, over the next hour, a wide and disparate range of current phenomena from a viewpoint that is sometimes amusing, usually thought provoking, always original.

For example, “Lust” contrasts a light-hearted tune with amusingly frank but strangely threatening lyrics: “love me, feel me, fear me…tease me, kiss me, have sex with me.” Then we switch to the ska of “Africa” wherein laughing kids introduce a narrative about child soldiers, blood diamonds and the destruction of cultures. From there it’s “L’amour dietetique” featuring Zen and tofu and diet coke. Shortly after that, in “Happy Death Day,” we’re pondering the end of a love affair and possibly more: “This day is my last.”

And so it goes throughout Revolution: informed opinions on the state of human relationships expressed though multi-dimensional lyrics and creative musical settings, over as strong and varied a bunch of reggae rhythms as you could want. The disc even comes encased behind a photomontage that evokes the grim but lively paintings of Jerome Bosch; it’s clearly an intentional reference, and wholly appropriate for such a powerful, provocative album.



About Ted Boothroyd :

Ted has enjoyed music all his increasingly lengthy life. He has gone through various favorite artists along the way, from his mommy crooning lullabies at crib side to his dad singing folk songs on car trips to The Everly Brothers to Ian and Sylvia to The Dave Brubeck Quartet to The Lovin’ Spoonful to The Kinks to The Miracles to Ravi Shankar to Tchaikovsky to Pentangle to Miriam Makeba to The Red Army Chorus and Band to Captain Beefheart to Gilbert and Sullivan to The McGarrigle Sisters to The Clash to Louis Jordan to The Flying Bulger Klezmer Band to Manu Chao. He has trouble choosing favorites when it comes to reggae - that fixation has been too longstanding and too complete. Ted started writing about music late in 2002 with a book review in The Beat, continuing with book and album reviews until the magazine's untimely passing. His association with Jahworks.org dates back to 2003, and he has hosted a couple of radio shows featuring reggae and "world music". Ted also sculpts in plaster and wood. | View all posts by Ted Boothroyd

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Ted has enjoyed music all his increasingly lengthy life. He has gone through various favorite artists along the way, from his mommy crooning lullabies at crib side to his dad singing folk songs on car trips to The Everly Brothers to Ian and Sylvia to The Dave Brubeck Quartet to The Lovin’ Spoonful to The Kinks to The Miracles to Ravi Shankar to Tchaikovsky to Pentangle to Miriam Makeba to The Red Army Chorus and Band to Captain Beefheart to Gilbert and Sullivan to The McGarrigle Sisters to The Clash to Louis Jordan to The Flying Bulger Klezmer Band to Manu Chao. He has trouble choosing favorites when it comes to reggae - that fixation has been too longstanding and too complete.

Ted started writing about music late in 2002 with a book review in The Beat, continuing with book and album reviews until the magazine's untimely passing. His association with Jahworks.org dates back to 2003, and he has hosted a couple of radio shows featuring reggae and "world music". Ted also sculpts in plaster and wood.

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