Ian Stewart | Milton, MA | 03/30/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"As there seems to be a bit of controversy over the horn section I thought I'd break the tie. First of I play trumpet so there's nothing I like more than some fat brass licks and solos, however, most of the tracks with horn arangements seem a little out of place and choppy if you will. Also in comparison with their first album this one does have a smooth and slightly overproduced sound which seems to be taking them farther and father from their original vibe of "live preformance as the escence of music" (or somthin like that). Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad albumto put on and groove to, it just doesn't have that same raw, in-the-club, jam feel that turn it out did."
Phil Boucher | Albany, NY USA | 10/15/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Before I delve into my review, I must say that this will be rather biased, as I know the drummer somewhat well and have other connections to the band (namely, their manager, jeff Krasno, Eric's brother). But I digress. This was my first Soulive album I bought, after seeing them 3 times live. I wasn't sure if I'd like the studio efforts for I know that they work extremely well live. However, after the first listen though, I was hooked. Yes, it doesn't have that same raw energy that they posess live or on Turn It Out; yes the sonic qualities and mastering of the recording may not be top top notch; but it just gives it its own flavor, which I think should therefore be viewed in a slightly different light from how you'd view them live to truly appreciate the efforts on here, which are plentiful. Onto the music.
The album opens with one of their better known tunes, Hurry Up...And Wait. If this doesn't get your foot tapping, then I don't know what will. I do not tire of this song ever. Definitely an album highlight. These guys posess that organic funk groove that makes the Meters or James Brown so much funkier than all the newer stuff held down by click tracks or (ugh) drum machines. However, as another reviewer noted, it's not AS organic as MMW gets. Next is one of three tracks to have a 4 piece horn section. Now I share the same sentiments with most other reviewers on here that Soulive loses some of it's essence having these guys play along. The tracks (Doin' Something, Cannonball and Roll The Tape) just don't seem to be as spontaneous as the others as just a trio or plus one horn feel, which of course would make sense since it is trio plus horn arrangement. But still, I prefer it to be just as a trio or trio plus horn. Track 3 is Evidence, and this is the debut of Neal playing piano, which some may not like, but I absolutely love. This is another one of my favorite tracks off this album by far. Next is another well known tune, One in Seven, and is one of the more distinctive cuts. Bridge to 'Bama is next and is quite good. Check out how the tenor sax man (not detrimental to the song in any way) always comes back into the same melody during his solo, giving the song a strong sense of unity for which to expand off of. Cannonball is next, one of the horn section pieces, and is fine in its own right, but questionable as to it belonging on here.
Shaheed is track 7, possessing a rather memorable melody played down low on Neal's B3, and serves as a great transition from Cannonball into Romantic, the album's one vocal piece. Stephanie McKay provides those, and one can tell she has as much soul as the three backing her in easily the most emotionally moving piece on Doin' Something. Afterwards is another one of my favorite tracks, Solid. It just has that quirkiness to it which I've grown to love from these guys. Next is Roll The Tape, which I like best of the three horn section pieces. Some of the solos on here seem rather haunting for the key/mode they're chosing, very modern and cool. Last is another on of my favorite cuts, Joe Sample. Two simple melodies start it off and they end it all with one statement of the Steppin' riff off of Turn It Out. But wait! Probably the most surprising thing of this album exists after the song supposedly ends. It is Neal playing solo piano in more of a true jazz-classical style, and it is astounding; first because one most likely wouldn't expect it from him, and second, one wouldn't expect to hear it on a Soulive album! Assuming you can appreciate the piano greats like Bill Evans, McCoy, Chick and Herbie, you should love this. This album I hope I should not tire of for a long time to come."
A guy who thinks Ishtar is way hot | San Diego | 04/01/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Great sound a -little smooth at times though. This is a great trio of young players but the guitarist's "hep-jazz-cat" look is pretty funny."