Welcome to another episode of Album Reviews in a Gravity Pull. I don’t know exactly what that means but sometimes I have no idea how to start these things so I’m shooting for poor comedy at my expense. So the best solution to that kind of problem is to give some rest to my weary soul. And that brings us to a new group that has gone from one long distant pond to another, Souls Rest and their album exra.ordinary.love.
If you’re like me then you’ve never heard of Souls Rest so I’m sure you’re curious of whom these guys are. Souls Rest is comprised of two different characters, emcee and vocalist Rawface and DJ Philamonic originally from Liverpool, England (Go REDS!) who have now immigrated to Canada. Each member provides something very different to the partnership and that creates a kind of unique sound that becomes evident almost immediately. That distinction is best made clear by Souls Rest’s own words:
“Souls Rest’s original sound is a result of two distinctly different approaches to music production. Philamonic began DJing by spinning house and then drum and bass records, before moving on to the art of turntablism and hip hop music; while The Rawface was heavily into London’s UK Garage scene before maturing into a hip hop MC. This eclectic background as well as a love of all genres of music (with the exception of country obviously) has developed within Souls Rest a passion not only for the music they create but also for those that hear it.”
The best way to describe this album and its different layers and sounds is like this: it’s like this amalgamation of 80’s English pop/rock, modern pop/alternative, electronica, boom bap/underground hip hop and turntablism with hints of the Gorillaz, Roots, Maroon 5, Coldplay, Brittany Spears, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, and Mars Ill all kind of slapped together. Clearly there’s a lot of good, but there’s also just enough bad and confusion to mess up a great idea and a unique sound.
The strength of this album definitely comes from the creative aspects of the production. DJ Philamonic’s techno roots and his turntablism skills definitely give this album a real flare and mixed well with the live drum kits and other live band additions throughout the album. And the boom bap hip hop feel also mixed well and at times DJ Pilamonic reminded me of RJD2 or even DJ Coldcut in his style and creativity, which is quite impressive if you know who they are.
The great weakness of the album is Rawface’s vocals. When it comes down to it, Rawface isn’t much of a singer. There are the rare occasions where it works out like in perfect harmonies on the hook of “Weak Become Heroes.” But on far more occasions his vocals just sound off. There are some great ideas there in what Rawface was trying to accomplish, but he lacks that something magical in his voice and delivery that turns a good song into something special and compels people to listen. Rawface makes a far better emcee than he does a singer. But he has some really good ideas that if given to the right voice could really pan out.
The overall sound of extra.ordinary.love shows real promise and some real innovation that I really like and have not heard in Christian music as of yet. DJ Philamonc’s work is extremely interesting, musical and enjoyable. But when Rawface adds his vocal inflections on top of the music there is a type of battle that occurs like two rams clashing horns. In formula and in idea extra.ordinary.love is fantastic. In practice it’s just pleasant. Whether this new vibe meshes into your other favorite music or not is up to you, but it’s certainly something different and new.
1. Music – 7.5
2. Flow/Delivery – 3
3. Lyricism – 4
4. Content – 5
5. Creativity/Originality/Relevancy – 8
6. Credibility & Confidence – 7
7. Personality & Character – 7
8. Presentation Quality – 9
9. Overall Production Quality – 6
10. Potential Impact – 3.5