Soul Basement - Behemoths (2015)

Soul Basement
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I have reviewed three of the six Soul Basement albums. The first, The Awakening of the Heart, was a soul and funk record that included an ensemble of vocalists, such as Marlon Saunders. In 2013, I reviewed Yesterday Today Tomorrow, an excellent album that paired a minimalist piano jazz arrangement with the vocal stylings of Zeljka Veverec. Now comes Behemoths, a throwback to the era of soul infused pop featuring singer Australian singer Glenn Bidmead.

It can be said that each of these records adapts to the talents that the singers bring to the table, but it may be better to view a record such as Behemoths through the lens of the one constant that runs through all Soul Basement projects: Italian producer Fabio Puglisi, who clearly knows how to select vocalists suited for the musical vision that he wants to accomplish.

I have reviewed three of the six Soul Basement albums. The first, The Awakening of the Heart, was a soul and funk record that included an ensemble of vocalists, such as Marlon Saunders. In 2013, I reviewed Yesterday Today Tomorrow, an excellent album that paired a minimalist piano jazz arrangement with the vocal stylings of Zeljka Veverec. Now comes Behemoths, a throwback to the era of soul infused pop featuring singer Australian singer Glenn Bidmead.

It can be said that each of these records adapts to the talents that the singers bring to the table, but it may be better to view a record such as Behemoths through the lens of the one constant that runs through all Soul Basement projects: Italian producer Fabio Puglisi, who clearly knows how to select vocalists suited for the musical vision that he wants to accomplish.

Bidmead’s emotive and husky baritone is suited for the pop, funk and blues-inspired soul featured on Behemoths. Bidmead infuses the track “If You Wanna Love Me” with an assertiveness that borders on frustration that blends with the cut’s story line of a guy dispensing tough love advice to a female friend dealing with an indifferent lover. “Wipe away those tears, now your dignity is more important than your fears/Just go back to him / And start telling him exactly how you feel / And say if you wanna love me / Then you should just take me the way I am / You shouldn’t try to change me / Into someone other than myself / And baby if you really care / Just hold me tight and share this dream with me / And if  you wanna  love me / Do it completely.”

“Close To You” has the sound of a classic blues song with electric keyboard holding the chords while a piano plays the melody. Bidmead’s vocals bring feeling to the emotions of longing contained in the tune’s lyrics. “We Travel Fast” sports a bouncy 1960s pop bass line along with kicking drums and tambourine propelling the percussion. And the piano pop tune “Daily Bread” uses a biblical reference to illustrate the crucial and steadying role that special someone plays in his life.

Behemoths sounds like a more appropriate title for someone of Kanye West’s fame and ego. But here comes Soul Basement with an album title that is about being enormous, powerful, all encompassing -- a use designed to describe the massiveness of governments, corporations and even buildings. In our view, it could also be fitting of Puglisi's accomplishments. Over the course six records, he has proven to be a producer who can master genres ranging from soul to lounge music to pop and blues. That’s covering a lot of ground, so the word behemoth could also refer to the producer’s creativity, and it would fit nicely. Recommended.

By Howard Dukes 

 
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