By Sam Houghton
Looming over this week’s cover to New York Magazine is the dull headline: “Rock: Still Dead.” Ten years since the Slim Shady LP, twenty since Nevermind: the last white, male hopes bringing the doldrums back to a happy snuff. Kurt Cobain is dead and Emenem is pissing out horrid pop jingles. For what seems like 50 years, Rock and Roll has been the rebellious voice for generation after generation. But alas, rock: still dead. It is for the old folk now, clinging on to mind-dumbing nostalgia trips for when things get too complex. It will be heard rattling out of too trebly speakers in dental offices and classic rock stations until the opening licks to “Stairway to Heaven” finally lead to World War III. Alas.
But for those of you who don’t give a shit about voices for the masses and you still, full-heartedly, enjoy raging out to rock songs on your couch with the most bodacious air guitar attacks, then you will no doubt enjoy the debut album of a little known band called The London Souls.
The Souls rail out an almost frighteningly unoriginal form of rock and roll: the record was done in Abbey Road studios, it is rich with guitar solos throughout, the singer sounds like Lenny Kravitz, and it even features a song called “Old Country Road.” There is just something silly to the album that I can’t put my finger on. But the point here is: to form a straight-up rock and roll band now a-days has become sadly cliché.
But cliché or not, there’s a whole hell of a lot of good energy ringing out of this album that disregards the last 30 years of music and delves right into the 60s state of mind. They’d fit in right there with Marvin Gaye or Cream and all those freaks. And aside from a few jam-bandy quirks I could do without, The London Souls debut album is an absolute gem. If people still bought albums and with the right promotion, this album could be a serious contender for mainstream success. I just don’t hold much hope for the rest of the current masses. "I Think I Like It" is a rip-snorting jam, full of ringing guitars and a great build-up. "Dizzy" follows "I Like It" with a well written, Abbey Road-esq number. And "The Sound" is another great one, perfect for air guitars aficionados.
The Souls have cut their chops around the local New York circuit and have also ventured into the Jam band circuit, after adding a little funk to their rock standards. They were listed this year as a headliner at Mountain Jam where they have played for two years running. They have been a band for over four years and are just now putting out their first full length, featuring many songs of which they have played since their beginnings.