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St. Paul & The Broken Bones|The Alien Coast

The Alien Coast

St. Paul & The Broken Bones

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Neo soul luminaries like Brittany Howard, Leon Bridges, and St. Paul & The Broken Bones face the challenge of how to eventually slide away from tradition and into your own sound—without losing everyone who loved your retro soul bag. Given how well known and appealing a tradition like soul music is, charting a new course can be difficult if not impossible. And when a band refers to their latest album an "ultra vivid dreamscape," where they "let each idea be what it wants to be" and how they were unconcerned about "getting too weird," expect danger, or at least a fascinating trainwreck ahead.

On their fourth full length singer Paul Janeway and band step far away, into another dimension in fact, from their Stax, Hi and Muscle Shoals-influenced roots. Having covered the waterfront when it comes to mainstream retro soul rewrites, Janeway, with his amazing Al Green-high-vibrato-meets-Otis-Redding-howl-volume voice, and the Broken Bones dive into electronics from the pulsing synths of the title track to the chiming guitar effect in the slow burner, "Ghost in Smoke." Synthesizers now play a leading role, fleshing out every track and at times co-starring with Janeway's voice which is now almost entirely in falsetto. Perhaps the biggest change here is the complete lack of horns; those players now have, according to the band, a chance to "work with other instruments and really be a part of expanding our palette." Whether all this change is for the better or not, it was inevitable. Listeners who want nothing but homages to the past will consider The Alien Coast sacrilege; open minds will find much to like.

The opening intro "3000 AD Mass" underlines the group's affinity for gospel, with Janeway distorting the microphone as he repeatedly shouts "the fire and the brimstone." Deep grooves return several tracks later in "Minotaur" which settles into a classic '70s soul ballad mode, though the lyrics are psychedelic: "Blood is splattered on the back of the door/ Wish I never found you kissing the floor." The mix is dance club forward with drums and Janeway's voice sharing the foreground and compression used for an in-your-face attempt to modernize the band's sound. "The Last Dance" is a full-on disco track with chorus lines that begin with, "Bang, bang." There are several failed experiments, like "Popcorn Ceiling," a ballad that evolves into a lush vocal collage with drums rumbling in the background and the synth interlude "Atlas," which with its banging, clattering drum part is near filler. But Janeway still has a monster voice and art that endlessly repeats itself is tedious. Alien or not, this searching collection is courage made audible. © Robert Baird/Qobuz

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The Alien Coast

St. Paul & The Broken Bones

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1
3000AD Mass
00:01:21

St. Paul & The Broken Bones, MainArtist - St. Paul and the Broken Bones, Composer

2021 ATO Records, under exclusive license to [PIAS] 2021 ATO Records, under exclusive license to [PIAS]

2
Bermejo And The Devil
00:02:18

St. Paul & The Broken Bones, MainArtist - St. Paul and the Broken Bones, Composer

2021 ATO Records, under exclusive license to [PIAS] 2021 ATO Records, under exclusive license to [PIAS]

3
Minotaur
00:04:38

St. Paul & The Broken Bones, MainArtist - St. Paul and the Broken Bones, Composer

2021 ATO Records, under exclusive license to [PIAS] 2021 ATO Records, under exclusive license to [PIAS]

4
Atlas
00:02:12

St. Paul & The Broken Bones, MainArtist - St. Paul and the Broken Bones, Composer

2021 ATO Records, under exclusive license to [PIAS] 2021 ATO Records, under exclusive license to [PIAS]

5
The Last Dance
00:03:24

St. Paul & The Broken Bones, MainArtist - St. Paul and the Broken Bones, Composer

2021 ATO Records, under exclusive license to [PIAS] 2021 ATO Records, under exclusive license to [PIAS]

6
Ghost In Smoke
00:04:20

St. Paul & The Broken Bones, MainArtist - St. Paul and the Broken Bones, Composer

2021 ATO Records, under exclusive license to [PIAS] 2021 ATO Records, under exclusive license to [PIAS]

7
Alien Coast
00:03:58

St. Paul & The Broken Bones, MainArtist - St. Paul and the Broken Bones, Composer

2021 ATO Records, under exclusive license to [PIAS] 2021 ATO Records, under exclusive license to [PIAS]

8
Hunter And His Hounds
00:03:44

St. Paul & The Broken Bones, MainArtist - St. Paul and the Broken Bones, Composer

2021 ATO Records, under exclusive license to [PIAS] 2021 ATO Records, under exclusive license to [PIAS]

9
Tin Man Love
00:02:02

St. Paul & The Broken Bones, MainArtist - St. Paul and the Broken Bones, Composer

2021 ATO Records, under exclusive license to [PIAS] 2021 ATO Records, under exclusive license to [PIAS]

10
Popcorn Ceiling
00:03:16

St. Paul & The Broken Bones, MainArtist - St. Paul and the Broken Bones, Composer

2021 ATO Records, under exclusive license to [PIAS] 2021 ATO Records, under exclusive license to [PIAS]

11
Love Letter From A Red Roof Inn
00:03:48

St. Paul & The Broken Bones, MainArtist - St. Paul and the Broken Bones, Composer

2021 ATO Records, under exclusive license to [PIAS] 2021 ATO Records, under exclusive license to [PIAS]

Albumbeschreibung

Neo soul luminaries like Brittany Howard, Leon Bridges, and St. Paul & The Broken Bones face the challenge of how to eventually slide away from tradition and into your own sound—without losing everyone who loved your retro soul bag. Given how well known and appealing a tradition like soul music is, charting a new course can be difficult if not impossible. And when a band refers to their latest album an "ultra vivid dreamscape," where they "let each idea be what it wants to be" and how they were unconcerned about "getting too weird," expect danger, or at least a fascinating trainwreck ahead.

On their fourth full length singer Paul Janeway and band step far away, into another dimension in fact, from their Stax, Hi and Muscle Shoals-influenced roots. Having covered the waterfront when it comes to mainstream retro soul rewrites, Janeway, with his amazing Al Green-high-vibrato-meets-Otis-Redding-howl-volume voice, and the Broken Bones dive into electronics from the pulsing synths of the title track to the chiming guitar effect in the slow burner, "Ghost in Smoke." Synthesizers now play a leading role, fleshing out every track and at times co-starring with Janeway's voice which is now almost entirely in falsetto. Perhaps the biggest change here is the complete lack of horns; those players now have, according to the band, a chance to "work with other instruments and really be a part of expanding our palette." Whether all this change is for the better or not, it was inevitable. Listeners who want nothing but homages to the past will consider The Alien Coast sacrilege; open minds will find much to like.

The opening intro "3000 AD Mass" underlines the group's affinity for gospel, with Janeway distorting the microphone as he repeatedly shouts "the fire and the brimstone." Deep grooves return several tracks later in "Minotaur" which settles into a classic '70s soul ballad mode, though the lyrics are psychedelic: "Blood is splattered on the back of the door/ Wish I never found you kissing the floor." The mix is dance club forward with drums and Janeway's voice sharing the foreground and compression used for an in-your-face attempt to modernize the band's sound. "The Last Dance" is a full-on disco track with chorus lines that begin with, "Bang, bang." There are several failed experiments, like "Popcorn Ceiling," a ballad that evolves into a lush vocal collage with drums rumbling in the background and the synth interlude "Atlas," which with its banging, clattering drum part is near filler. But Janeway still has a monster voice and art that endlessly repeats itself is tedious. Alien or not, this searching collection is courage made audible. © Robert Baird/Qobuz

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