Souls Takes Us All To Church
There is no way to prepare yourself for Release, the astounding new album from Souls. At the very least, you should be seated first. You also should probably be well-hydrated. And definitely ready to cry.
The first notes of “Another Man Done Gone” through the ending refrain of “Lullaby,” you will be taken on a journey of loss, grief, self-destruction, acceptance, and redemption. The opening track is a tour-de-force of emotion, a one-two punch that will bury you under a sense of indescribable loss. Anyone who’s paid attention to Black Lives Matter will interpret it as a lamentation for a generation of young men who are lost forever. Anyone who endured the AIDS crisis will as well.
Even the more upbeat songs on this album are tinged with sadness. In “I Go On,” the singer endures life despite her difficult trials. In “Bad Girl,” the singer desires to not be a bad girl anymore, but cannot escape her past. Even the most exciting moment on the album is tinged with tragedy. The album is bleak, but in an extremely interesting way. The production is spot on. It’s minimalist when it needs to be, but the producer never shies away from a bigger sound when necessary. In “Down On Me,” a man harmonizes with a single guitar riff. In “No More Water,” the same man fronts an entire rock band.
This varied and eclectic approach suits the album well. It all leads up to final song; a surprising culmination of everything that Souls wants us to hear. In “Lullaby,” a mother – no, your mother – tells you to go to sleep. With a simple repetitive melody, she assures you that it’s going to be fine. Souls brings to bear all of the pain and death and sadness in the world, and now it’s all going to be okay. The full effect feels like a religious experience, one in which redemption comes not from any god, but through personal catharsis.