American Rebel Soul - 'American Rebel Soul'

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American Rebel Soul - 'American Rebel Soul'

I feel it could have been a much better record with a little more time spent on the recording.

Perris Records, a label run by Cherry Street man Tom Mathers, could be regarded very much as a niche label. Over the years, Mathers has released many projects and compilations utilising the services of a whole plethora of musicians from "back in the day", many of them very respectable releases indeed. However, Perris also release new albums from new bands and American Rebel Soul fits into this category

American Rebel Soul fall very much under the banner of Southern Rock with a tinge of Blues thrown in. With groups like Blackberry Smoke flying the Southern Rock revival flag, the timing of this release could have been perfect; however, for some reason, this album lacks something and I am not sure what that is.

Individually, all the parts sound good, but when you put the package together the album just doesn't gel smoothly. Musically the band are very competent and the playing is groove-laden, lyrically the songs are fine but the end product leaves you feeling slightly cheated.

I hate being critical but I have come to the conclusion that the vocals, both lead and backing, are what let the album down. 'Temptress' is a perfect example, the concept of the song is really good but the vocals could have done with some tweaking, while the harmonies/backing vocals just don't blend as well as they could with the lead. Bearing in mind albums are now recorded on low (if any) budgets, these comments might seem a little harsh, but when it's obvious the band have spent a great deal of effort on the music, it's a shame more concentration wasn't put into the vocal mix. 'Tattooed Romeo' is another fine example, a good song slightly tainted by an underperforming chorus.

There are some good songs with 'Ready To Roll', 'One Shot' and 'Take A Stand' being prime examples, therefore I wouldn't dismiss this album out of hand. However, I feel it could have been a much better record with a little more time spent on the recording and, maybe, an independent producer at the helm to give the band that little bit of direction they need to move up a level or two.

Steve Price

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