Collaborative and Creative, with a Dark Side
Soulsavers’ third album, Broken, is an unlikely collection. It’s varied but uniform, abrasive but gentle, and classic but modern. The English remix duo of Rich Machin and Ian Glover has collaborated with a group of vocalists and musicians to create an album that includes sparse instrumentals, string-backed rock songs, gospel-influenced electronica, and bluesy folk. Mark Lanegan, of Screaming Trees and Queens of the Stone Age, reprises his role as Soulsavers’ lead vocalist (joined by other rockers and a few female singers).
Broken opens with “The Seventh Proof,” a slow, acoustic instrumental that hints not one bit at the heavy rock to follow in “Death Bells.” Other similar instrumentals are placed throughout the album, which break up the louder tracks but also seem a little too much like unfortunate place holders that only make an already-long album even longer. Sifting through these slower songs is worth it for songs like “Unbalanced Pieces,” “All The Way Down,” and a stellar remix of Lanegan’s “Sunrise,” a folk and gospel number that Machin and Glover add layers of rock and soul to. “Unbalanced Pieces” is a trip hop gem, while “All The Way Down” is a bluesy gospel number complete with clapping and female choir-like vocals.
The latter half of the album is unnecessarily dark, with the ominous piano of “Pharaoh’s Chariot” and the bleak lyrics of “Rolling Sky,” making Broken sound rather depressing overall. Musically, though, the album is strong, if not uplifting. It proves once again that Soulsavers is a talented collaboration factory with a unique style and an ear for every genre under the sun.