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DRUNKSOULS - Revolution (Album Review)

By Edited Nov 20, 2016 0 0
DRUNKSOULS - Revolution (Album Review) - Album Cover

DRUNKSOULS is a rock/reggae band from France that was founded in 2002. Their music comes with an important humanitarian message relating to conciliation and tolerance, yet the way in which this reaches the listeners ears often comes in the form of music that is often playful and humorous, sometimes darker and serious, and even at times a unique blend of both of these atmospheres. Their latest album Revolution, released on November 4, 2011, consists of 16 tracks that are unique while maintaining a certain pop sensibility that has garnered DRUNKSOULS major recognition in Europe, and in many respects across the world on an international scale. This recognition is instantly observable in the well-documented facts that their first LP was downloaded over 100,000 times; and their tracks “Dear Lady” and “Studium w Bieli” were featured in the documentary trailer for the film “I Believe I Can Fly.”

SOUND:

The sound contained on this album is excellent from a production standpoint. Most of the tracks are very bass heavy, though this adds to the rhythmic elements of the reggae qualities contained throughout this album. Every instrument is recorded in a professional manner, and the album was mixed to absolute perfection as far as I am concerned. Most of the tracks on Revolution incorporate relatively unique atmospheres. For example, the track “J’ai fait un reve” develops an acoustic/island listening experience; which is extremely appealing and atmospherically different from the first two tracks. Of course, this happens on multiple occasions throughout this album; which is great because it makes this rather long album (16 tracks totaling up to a little over an hour of music) very diverse and not long-winded for your average listeners. Without a doubt, if you enjoy rock/reggae fusion music; you will not have an issue incorporating this album into your collection. Additionally, on many occasions the music of DRUNKSOULS seems like it has been influenced heavily by the late King of Pop Michael Jackson; with respect to the bass lines and even the vocals to some degree. This is incredibly noticeable on track 9, titled “Supermarket.” Without a doubt, this album will appeal to very many people because it is unique, yet familiar in some respects.

Revolution is produced to a professional standard, and the lack of anything negative say with regards to the sound can attest to this simple fact.

COMPOSITION AND INSTRUMENTATION:

DRUNKSOULS has done a great job in utilizing a variety of compositional structures in their music, while simultaneously appealing to listeners who are into music that is very radio friendly. Every track blends elements of reggae, rock, punk, and even electronic music to create atmospheres that are unique from song to song, and section to section within each track. While a few tracks fall back on the stereotypical pop song structure, most of these tracks add other elements into the mix such as section of drone, instrumental interludes and solos, and layers that reinvigorate repeated sections in ways most bands tend to avoid. For example, the rather absurd and humorous French punk blended track “Sullivan story” takes the album in a direction that I found to be rather bizarre from the odd organ and lead guitar melody in the intro; to the interesting instrumental phrasing found throughout the verses and other song segments. The following track, “Happy Death Day,” implements some elements of drone/noise music as it seemingly repeats the same beat over and over throughout the track. This works surprisingly well, and engages the listeners’ emotions in a way that cannot often be captured through a simple verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge song structure.

Instrumentally, this album is very eclectic to say the least. While there is undoubtedly a heavy focus placed on the bass and rhythmic instrumentation, much room is given to other instruments such as horns, guitars, synths, a didgeridoo, and even what sounds like a theremin (on the track “Separation”) to breath and fuse beautiful melodies into these tracks. As previously stated, almost all of the tracks on Revolution create a unique atmosphere; and this is in part an attribute of using so many different instruments and effects. DRUNKSOULS popular track “Studium w bieli” adds the sounds of orchestral strings blended with electronic beats and horns, which creates what sounds like an urban soundtrack piece. Guitars and synths come and go in every track, lending both interesting rhythms or just simple chordal layering behind other more primary instruments; while also being fused melodically to bring the music to life. There are quite a few standout tracks that are instantly memorable to my mind, including “The end” (which builds on a beautiful piano melody), “Africa” (which fuses a happy and child-like atmosphere which could be found on a Sigur Ros track with bits of upbeat ska and rhythmic African music influences), “Happy Death Day” (which stands out as one of my favorites because of the droning rhythm and the excellently layered instrumentation), and “Separation” (which has a great bass guitar rhythm and a very lounge-like atmosphere).

Spanning this entire 16-track album, there was very little I could not enjoy. A major moment of disharmony for my listening experience was the rapping segments contained on the title track “Revolution.” They reminded of Linkin Park in many respects, but seemed very out of place in the context of this album. Additionally, I felt the vocals were a little off in these sections as well. The track titled “Lust” also stood out as a sub-par track on this album as well, mostly because of it’s repetitive sections and what I found to be an excessive use of the chorus. With these relatively minor flaws out of the way, though, I found the composition and instrumentation on this album as a whole to be very unique, and very purposeful from the perspective of the musicians who created this music.

VOCALS AND LYRICS:

The vocals contained on DRUNKSOULS’ Revolution are by and large very diverse. I found the standout points with regards to the vocals and lyrics to typically fall on the slow to medium paced tracks on this album, though the faster tracks were also performed well in most cases. The first track, “Drifter song,” sets the mood for this album with the vocals and lyrics by displaying the many vocal stylings of DRUNKSOULS’ lead vocalist. His vocals vary from track to track, and often even from section to section. On the aforementioned song, we hear verses that are primarily spoken word, with choruses that are highly melodic and reminiscent of pop tracks performed by Michael Jackson. While the vocals do change from time to time, the vocalist is very comfortable in a mid-vocal range; and often displays these talents to their fullest. Other vocal elements, such as a children’s choir on the track “Africa,” add to the diversity in this section. While I would have liked to see a little bit more from the vocal stylings of DRUNKSOULS’ lead, I found the vocals to be very well performed overall and enjoyable for what they are.

The lyrics contained on this album are very solid, even what I would consider above average for the style of music. The track “Human Race” displays lyrical qualities that standout significantly in my mind: “Hard to find out my way/I got to find my place in this human race/For money, sex and drugs and fame.” As one can easily imagine, these lyrics are very easy to get into; but often witty and tongue in cheek, sometimes humorous, and ultimately very serious and even political at times as well.

OVERALL IMPRESSION:

DRUNKSOULS’ 2011 release Revolution is excellent all around. The reggae/rock genre is notorious for often producing musicians who simple do the same thing time and time again. DRUNKSOULS, with their French background and experimental (yet poppy) song writing is able to appeal to a very large market of listeners. The instruments move in and out of every track, taking the listener from one vantage point to another as they examine their own humanity and other existential issues. This music has the emotional capacity to motivate tears to stem from your eyes on the down-tempo and calm tracks, and at other moments bring you to moments of pure joy in the form of up-tempo reggae club tracks. The blend of reggae, rock, punk, and electronica into one concise package forces DRUNKSOULS’ album Revolution to standout in my mind when compared to other musicians in these styles. While there were a few moments that were detrimental to my listening experience, they were few and far between. The music on this album may be a little odd at first, but with some time it grows on the listener in a very fantastic way. I recommend this album highly for fans of reggae/rock music; or individuals just interested in some experimental pop music capable of drawing instant comparisons to Michael Jackson.

8/10 stars

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:

DRUNKSOULS Website (read artist bio and purchase the album here)
DRUNKSOULS SoundCloud (full album stream)
DRUNKSOULS Facebook

DRUNKSOULS - Revolution - Album Promo Video

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