Soul Basement - A Love Like The Seasons

Soul Basement
Soul Basement A Love Like The Seasons.jpg
Click on CD cover
to listen or purchase

Since birthing Soul Basement in the late nineties, Italian producer/multi-instrumentalist Fabio Puglisi has thrived on an ever-changing cast of lead vocalists. A constant change in vocal talent could result in a musical identity crisis, but Puglisi’s brew of mellow jazz, folk, pop and soul riding on groove laden tracks were more than enough to sustain a loyal following in his homeland and in several European soul markets. After a 1998 debut, Cloudy Days, with French jazz guitarist/vocalist Cliff Lisette, the ensemble disbanded only to return with the neo-soul kissed 2004 EP, Time is Ours, featuring the single “L.O.V.E.” fueled by Italian soul stylist Alessya Piermarini.

Since birthing Soul Basement in the late nineties, Italian producer/multi-instrumentalist Fabio Puglisi has thrived on an ever-changing cast of lead vocalists. A constant change in vocal talent could result in a musical identity crisis, but Puglisi’s brew of mellow jazz, folk, pop and soul riding on groove laden tracks were more than enough to sustain a loyal following in his homeland and in several European soul markets. After a 1998 debut, Cloudy Days, with French jazz guitarist/vocalist Cliff Lisette, the ensemble disbanded only to return with the neo-soul kissed 2004 EP, Time is Ours, featuring the single “L.O.V.E.” fueled by Italian soul stylist Alessya Piermarini. The band followed with the 2005 release Little Hitches of Living with Simone Sheckles and Piermarini, featuring the dance hit “What You Wanna Do,” and followed two years later with An Awakening of the Heart, an original funky throwback journey to the ‘70s and ‘80s that featured the fine vocal work of Marlon Saunders and spoken word artist Domekno Cheri Jonez. In a near 180 degree turnaround, Puglisi shifted more towards a pop/soul emphasis a la Maroon 5 and John Mayer with the 2010 release, These Days, featuring guitarist/vocalist Ben Cina handling the leads. 

Continuing where These Days left off, Soul Basement’s latest, A Love Like The Seasons, finds Allie Persinger in the lead vocal role. There are a few bright spots on A Love Like The Seasons where the musicianship and vocals click on all cylinders. The first single, “Away,” is a perfect fit for the easy listening adult contemporary market with its soft, soulful edge and pleasing piano work from Puglisi. The same goes for “We Travel Fast,” the definitive fantasy about leaving life’s worries behind: “We just close our eyes/ suddenly we belong/to a place where we don’t have to rush and think anymore.”  

Compared to Soul Basement’s previous efforts, A Love Like The Seasons falls short in several areas. Though Puglisi provides some capable keyboard accompaniment, many of his arrangements are uneven and the usually chilled-out grooves are conspicuously missing. The sometimes shaky, off-key vocals from Persinger are an even bigger obstacle for A Love Like The Seasons and do not match previous lead performances by Piermarini and Sanders. Perhaps on his next recording, Puglisi needs to reconsider nailing that critical lead voice who could accentuate the usually groovin’ pop, jazz and soul hybrid that first put Soul Basement on the indie soul map. Other Notable Tracks:  “Don’t Let Me Down”

Vocals:  2.0 stars
Music:  2.0 stars
Lyrics:  2.5 stars
Production:  2.0 stars
SoulTracks Call:  Moderately Recommended

By Peggy Oliver

 
Choice Cut - Will Preston - "Never Knew Love"
Song of the Month - Tatianna Mott - "Come Home"

Leave a comment!