Album Review: The London Souls, ‘Here Come the Girls’
New York City-based rockers the London Souls have just released their second album -- and it's a winner.
Here Come the Girls is stocked from top to bottom with soulful, melodic, funky and dirty rock and roll ... you know, the good stuff!
So who are the London Souls? Glad you asked. They are singer/guitarist Tash Neal, drummer Chris St. Hilaire and bassist Stu Mahan. They released their (now out-of-print) debut in 2011 and have kept a relatively low profile since then, due in no small part to a serious hit and run accident suffered by Neal.
The London Souls' sound mixes up traditional influences of hard driving rock, soul and pop. Instead of being a mere retread of tried and true angles, though, Here Come the Girls sounds surprisingly fresh thanks to the stripped down production that lives and breathes throughout the record.
For every Zeppelin-inspired guitar riff, there's a nod to the Beatles' melodic sense, and for every soul-drenched groove, there's a Byrds-ian harmony that creeps in. In some ways, what they are pulling together here is not miles apart from what Lenny Kravitz was doing some 20-plus years ago. They take their visions of the past and replant them in a current environment, though the songs never sound forced or overtly "retro."
The album saunters in unassumingly with "When I'm With You," which kicks off with the line "Hello, I really must be going" (we are betting that is a Grouch Marx reference, rather than a Phil Collins one). The song is brimming with a pure pop sensibility powered by a nice jangly guitar riff that gets all meaty and chunky as the song builds, coming together like some long lost Badfinger track. It's power pop without the cliches -- and a very nice way to open the album.
"Steady" lunges headlong into much funkier terrain that recalls Kravitz in his prime, which of course means it also resembles everything from Free and Sly Stone as well as, dare we say, Grand Funk Railroad. "Hercules" changes things up with its acoustic driven riff and somewhat shy delivery. "Alone" gets into a solid soulful groove that, again, employs a solid melodic coating.
There are a couple of forays into more folk and country-inspired terrain, which surprisingly works; the album is paced rather well, never going too far in one direction before making a left turn. Here Come the Girls was originally set for release earlier this year but was held up due to Neal's accident. Thankfully, he's feeling better now and we can't wait to see what the London Souls have up their sleeves for the rest of 2015.