Check your expectations at the door for this one folks, because the H(ughes)-bomb has been dropped! With "Soul Mover" Glenn has released an album that is quite simply like no other Glenn Hughes album before it. The music on this album is all over the place, aggressively probing the boundaries of what people might have expected from Glenn and then moving well beyond.
Brash and full of swagger and self-confidence, virtually every song on this album shows Glenn flexing some serious musical muscle. "Soul Mover" is not an album one casually slips into the CD player. No this is an album that one braces himself for before pressing play to unleash the sonic hurricane it contains.
The album opens with the title track, "Soul Mover" which, along with "She Moves Ghostly" is probably one of the more classic-rock sounding songs on this album which is definitely NOT a classic rock CD. A mid-tempo masterpiece with an extremely catchy chorus, "Soul Mover" features some unbelievably hot lead guitar work from Dave Navarro, (formerly of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Jane's Addiction), who is also featured on the intro to the above-mentioned "She Moves Ghostly".
Is it an ironic coincidence that a guitar player with a cutting edge "alternative" pedigree would ground the material with a "classic" sound on this record? You betcha! But get over it, "Soul Mover" is full of little surprises like this.
Also featured on the album are the amazingly talented and chameleon like guitarist, JJ Marsh, (who beyond his Blackmore-like turn in taking over from Navarro on "She Moves Ghostly", plays more like a man possessed by the otherworldly guitar muses of Jimi Hendrix and/or Steve Vai on much of the album), stalwart keyboardist Ed Roth, and the simply incredible drummer, Chad Smith, whose presence and contributions to the overall sound and feel of this record are simply too numerous to mention or ignore. Quite literally, Smith pounds the hell out of his drums on this album. From the polyrhythmic high-octane world beats on "She Moves Ghostly", to the over-driven Power Station-like backbeats reminiscent of the late, great Tony Thompson on "High Road", Chad Smith's playing is in your face and over the top at nearly every turn.
And the then there is Hughes himself, who plays and sings as if he's plugged his rig into the sun itself. There can be no denying that Glenn has turned up the wattage here. You almost have to listen to this album with your sunglasses on for fear of being blinded when you open the case itself!
For all this, though, while you'd expect an album like "Soul Mover" to be an instant hit amongst Glenn's fan base and beyond, one can't help but wonder if that will actually be the case. Indeed, much of "Soul Mover" is flavored with seasonings that are new and different then any Glenn has ever used before, (listen to the drone of "Orion", the dark modern rock edge of "Change Yourself", or the plodding grittiness of "Let It Go" if you don't believe me), and you have to wonder how some of Hughes' more die-hard and traditional minded fans will respond to the change in the menu. Sure the album rocks, and yes there is some definite funk on there too, but like the best Euro-Asian fusion restaurants, the fare being dished up here is neither one nor the other, rather it is something new and unique unto to itself, waiting to be tasted and then accepted or rejected depending on the patron's personal palate.
This might be easier to swallow for some of Hughes' more adventurous listeners than it is for others, and for "newbies", well, who knows? While at any given time, the statement that they'd have never heard anything like music or singing from Glenn Hughes before might be true, never would it be truer than it is with this album today.
The Bottom Line: This album is HUGE if a bit unfocused in the ground it covers - a criticism that has been attached to some of Glenn's previous releases in the past, but while true in this case, in all fairness one has to ask just how do you channel a musical explosion like this one anyway?
No matter how you cut it, "Soul Mover" is indeed a landmark album that well and truly separates itself and its creator from the past that they share, while at the same time heralding the genesis of something entirely new, different and exciting. Whether or not this will be viewed as a welcome transformation by Glenn's fans remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure, everyone will be waiting to see what happens next.
As always Marc, an excellent review. This album really pulls from all aspects of Glenn's career and bundles it all up into an extraordinary package with the highlight being this new direction the songs take us. In my eyes, it has something for everyone. As you say, even relative "newbies" will be happy. It covers all the bases, while at the same time encompassing the very essence of Glenn Hughes with funk & soul sprinkled throughout.
As always, it's hard to pick favourites on any of Glenn's albums as each song is a very special affair. But if really pushed I would say, 'Change Yourself', 'Let It Go', 'Dark Star', 'Isolation', 'Don't Let Me Bleed', 'She Moves Ghostly' and of course, 'Soul Mover' all do it for me!
The radio potential of this album is enormous, there's at least 5 or 6 songs that could quite easily make the cut, given the chance. I would also hope the satellite radio stations will pick this up once it's available Stateside.
I look forward to reading what others' think as they receive the album over the next few days and weeks. So everyone, come back here once you've given it a spin and tell us what you think.
Well as Marc said, my bomb landed yesterday, indeed it is the most complete Solo album to date, I believe it defines Glenn as an Artist.
It somehow sums up all his previous solo albums and packages them into one, taking only the best from each. You can here all his previous work somewhere in the sonic bomb that this album is. However, it is not just about the past as the whole album has an updated feel to it and a climpse to the future. I am sure the debt here is owed to Chas and his influence,recording the backing tracks live gives it real energy. By chance or good planning working with todays happening muscicans has taken the GH sound to a new level.
It is an album that has a vibe that flows throught its entire sound spectrum, funk hard rock, rock, soul,latin its all here tied togheter to make a great album.
Favorites so far are the imidIate Dark Star, Change Yourself, She Moves Ghostly and Soul Mover all of which if there was any justice in this musical world would be heard acoss the airwaves of the radio stations.
I hope the initial sales are good and that the record company can really get behind this album and promote it as it deserves, this is the album to break Glenn into a new audiance and raise his profile. I certainly hope so as he deserves real recogonition for this one.
Make no mistake this is a Rock album, in my opinion, drawing influences form the previous mentioned styles, ultimatley it shakes you to the core.
WELL MY REACTION TO THE NEW C.D. IS .........IT IS AWESOME!...IT HAS AN INSTANT FEEL TO IT WITHOUT BEING COMMERCIAL.THERE ARE MANY DIFFERENT STYLES ON SHOW BUT IS MORE CONSISTENT..NO FILLERS FOR ME ...DO YOURSELF A FAVOUR AND GET IT QUICK ...BEFORE THE TOUR ....ROLL ON FEB....
I agree with everything that has been said already - this is his best album to date. It seems everything has come together at the right time. All these years have finally produced the ultimate collection of honest and full flavoured songs and only go to prove he is the master of his craft. And to top it off, the press for once, seem to be in full agreement!
I too say that Dark Star, Change Yourself, She Moves Ghostly are my favourties, but the whole thing is what makes it, what it is, so it's actually unfair to pick out indivdual songs.
Can't wait to hear any of these live and in only 2 short weeks
which shows are you coming over for?
Still waiting for my copy. PowerplayDirect sent me this status update:
Status: Re-ordered from supplier (re-ordered 2 times)
The item is not yet in stock. We are continuing to attempt to source from the distributor.
Does that mean its selling fast? Lets hope so.
here is what Simon Robinson (familiar to all DP fans i'm sure) thinks:
"The best studio band he's assembled since Purple? Debate! Lots of inventive touches throughout, and while it doesn't radically move from his solo direction to date, it's great to hear the band incorporating musical elements from well outside the metal spectrum; indeed you're never quite sure what they're going to be trying out next. On first listen, the extreme Trapeze funk of 'Dark Star' is going to please people who (like me) would like to see him bring more of this to his work, while the sublime Latin American swing of 'Isolation' will be back on the turntable at DPAS towers more than once." Simon R.
Marc and David have hit the nail on the head. I agree with all David's choices for top six tracks, my own personal fave being Let it Go closely followed by Soul Mover. Great stuff - it really does knit together many of the threads of Glenn's career into a rich tapestry. The energy and dynamics created by playing together in the same room gives it the edge over what has gone before. Glenn is a live artist so it works well.
After having listened to the album for about a week, I have a few thoughts on it myself. While I agree that it is one of Glenn's most enjoyable solo releases, not everything grabs me with gleeful abandon. First off, let me say that the title track rocks. I hope Glenn is able to get some mileage out of it, and that it turns a few heads in his direction. "She Moves Ghostly" is a bit of an awkward lyric, but I like the tune a lot. Like my buddy Chip and a couple others here, "Orion" leaves me a bit flat. It doesn't quite have the hooks, to these ears. "Change Yourself", on the other hand is a slice of listening nirvana, as is the total funk breakout of "Dark Star" - man, when that chorus kicks in it's a ride I don't want to end. "Isolation" rounds out my favorite four-song section of the album, but the fun doesn't stop there necessarily. The rest of the tunes are quite enjoyable, "Miss Little Insane" - despite another awkward title/lyric - is quite good, especially.
A couple items worth noting. Upon first listen, "Let It Go" brought an overwhelming sense of deja vu because it sounds so much like "No Quarter" by Led Zeppelin. And as someone else from this board pointed out to me, Jimi Hendrix should be getting a co-writing credit or two on the album. "Soul Mover", for one, invokes the riff from "Foxy Lady". The most "uh oh" moment on the Soul Mover album comes with the track "Land of the Livin (Wonderland)" - it is an almost note-for-note reworking of the Hendrix tune "Power of Soul" from the Band of Gypsys album.
I sincerely hope Sanctuary gets behind this release, and Glenn enjoys a higher profile here in the US this year.
I haven't had the comparative luxury of listening to Soul Mover for the past week; my copy arrived on Friday and I was first able to sit down and listen to it yesterday. I wanted to push all other reviews I have read out of my mind and make my own judgement..only to find that my feelings are echoed by many others here...but let me make a few observations anyway!
One thing I have (and always will!) admire about Glenn is that he has never made the same record twice...like children, they are all unique in their own way....the sunny jazz and soul of Feel, the dark hard hitting, current as the 6 o"clock news rock of Addiction, the more relaxed late night shadings of The Way It Is, the radio ready AOR rock of From Now On...I think you get the idea.The ability to change and grow is vital to the artist and I think the fans have an unspoken obligation to give him that room to grow. So what has Glenn done this time?? Not only has he made a tire squealing hard turn from the "rock mode" of Songs In The Key Of Rock...not only has he turned up the funk..but he has added a few tasty new flavors to the musical stew!!
And if Glenn is always willing to change the color of his paint, then JJ Marsh is the multi-hued master of tone and light, always there to give the right color and crunch. I have said this before.....the rock mags have always asked of Glenn; "Hey Glenn..why don't you work with *insert name of well known hard rock guitarist here*?" It isn't the name...you can't just place two name talents together and get magic. JJ and Glenn have a connection that is deep and probably hard to sum up neatly in a paragraph as I could only try to do here..and never succeed!
And to address the issue of "Uh oh"....When I heard Soul Mover for the first time, my impression was that of a killer Robin Trower lick and I had to listen to it again after reading Todd's review to catch the "Foxy Lady" quote. If that is ripping Jimi, then the members of Deep Purple MK. 1 should be given some sort of posthumous award for Chutzpah Above And Beyond The Call Of Duty for "Mandrake Root" ....which to my ears is a far more obvious cop of the aforementioned Hendrix tune. And JJ may quote that "Power Of Soul" lick on the intro of Land Of The Living but the body of the song is all Glenn and Co.
But as Spinal Tap guitarist Nigel Tufnel put it; "That's nit picking!";)
* Little voice whispers " C'mon Bill..take it to the bridge!!"*
Glenn adds new flavors to the stew and while not every curve ball hits the strike zone...OK, I apologize to our overseas readers for the inevitable Yank baseball comparison... While Orion didn't quite knock me out, Dark Star is pure heaven, Isolation is a total gem,the can't miss choruses of Change Yourself,Let It Go and She Moves Ghostly had me playing them more than once, the intro to Last Mistake has a Police vibe to it just as the intro to Let It Go echoes the eerie vibe conjured by "No Quarter". OK..Glenn does fall back on one tried and true move of ending the CD on an epic note with Don't Let Me Bleed"
To sum it up....You gotta have it..you just got to got to have it!!!
Oh, Bill...dear, dear Bill...
First of all, let me declare that I am not a big fan of Jimi Hendrix. I have a couple albums, sure, but I swear no allegiance to the guy's music. And now, with that in mind:
The riff to "Land of the Living" is WAY too close for comfort to Jimi's "Power of Soul", in my book. "Land of the Living" is a great tune, no doubt, but that's because Jimi was a great songwriter.
Deep Purple may have some explaining to do as far as "Mandrake Root" goes, but Mr. Robin Trower built an entire career out of copying everything Hendrix ever put on wax! Finally, in the 90's he branched out a bit. But for the better part of twenty-odd years, he should have been sending those royalty checks to Seattle, Washington! (I see you snickering in the corner, Frank Marino - come here, I need a word with you too...)
It's an age old tale - the Beach Boys borrowed from Chuck Berry, Stray Cats copped Eddie Cochran, and Yngwie Malmsteen has fashioned a career out of imitating Ritchie Blackmore. It's just so obvious sometimes that it cannot be ignored.
PS When are you heading West again, Bill?! We need to do another show...
After hearing Jeff Scott Soto for the first time since hearing him sing with that OTHER Swedish guitar god ;)....it will hopefully be sooner than later!! So where will the Chip and Todd Traveling Road Show be venturing next??
Right on Todd!! It all started with one, Mr. Berry.
Chuck used to live in a small town outside of St. Louis, called Wentzville. (See George Thorogoods album 'Bad To The Bone" for the song 'Back To Wentzville'.)
Back in our partying days, we would run into Chuck late at night getting gas or something like that. He'd either say 'Hi, how ya doing?" or " Get f**cked!"
The Chip and Todd Travelling Road Show will probably go out in May.
It's all up to Glenn really.
I better run up to the corner and gas up the car...May is only a few months away!
I am just getting into the CD, having had it since Monday....I may have to burn another copy and remove Orion...This album is a grower, not an instant love affair, but it has a lot to offer and I am looking forward to playing it over and over again.
Hi Folks, I'm a longtime visitor here but I don't recall posting before this. I'm also a longtime GH fan and the man has blown me away again with Soul Mover. There is not a bad song on the CD so I won't detail each one. In the past, I've felt that each GH album had many brilliant songs amongst some less-memorable songs. A fair balance for an hour or so of new music. But this time, he's delivered his most solid effort since BTM (or perhaps Addiction). I love the Chili Peppers and I've always thought it would be cool to hear Glenn collaborate with them in some form. And the result is nothing short of fantastic. I hope he gets a real push with this one. Change Yourself, Isolation or the title track should be released as a single immediately. Thanks GH!
Right on, Brian...hopefully Glenn will reap some nice rewards from this one!
If things in the US work out regarding Glenn doing shows here the way they seem to be....you and Chip are going to be logging some SERIOUS mileage this year!!
Batteries to power..turbines to speed...OK, I watched WAY too much TV as a kid...
Yeah, except hopefully our vehicle will not have flames shooting out the back when we accelerate - or it might be a short road trip!