There are bands that have a distinct throwback feel/sound/look sometimes, and then there are those that maybe just show a tinge of their influences. Stone Soul Foundation doesn’t fit either description. Their sound has shades of rock and roll’s founding fathers, but you just can’t call them a throwback band, despite the back-in-the-day analog warmth of this recording that is Electric Valley. I got it recently from Shauna over at New Ocean Media. We’ve only been friends a short time, but she’s gotten very good very fast at picking out stuff I would like. When she sends me something, I know I’m in for a treat, and this band is no exception.
The first thing that needs to be addressed is the musicianship in the band. Stone Soul Foundation is a four-piece that rocks…HARD. During the first spin what caught me right away were the solos from guitarist Jeff Wiggins. They are so fluid, with a bit of a Southern flair to them, and they fit the songs perfectly. The next thing was Sean Muldoon’s vocals. He’s got a powerful set of pipes, and a hard-rockin’ ass-kickin’ delivery that also has a Southern swagger to it. Finally, I love the fact that the rhythm section of bassist Doug Paradise and drummer Shane Stillman can be heard loud and clear on every song. The mix on this CD is outstanding. Too often the bass gets buried; not here.
As far as the songs go, “Gonna Try”, “Christian”, and “Mountain of Time” are three of the most riff-tastic with a healthy dose of attitude. “Sidewalker” which opens the record is a hybrid of Molly Hatchet and Deep Purple at times, and would sound just as good in a honkytonk as in an arena. The title track “Electric Valley” has a distinct blues-rock sound to it and even wades into Black Sabbath-y waters, making it one of the album’s best. And yet, as soon as that ends, we’re brought screaming back to the modern era with “Ain’t No Mystery”, thus achieving a perfect balance of old and new.
“Song About You” is one of the angrier cuts, and is certainly NOT subtle, which I found humor in despite the pissed off tone. “Window” slows things down and mellows us out for a few with some calm, strumming guitars, as does “They Are Me”. One thing about these guys is that they’re just as comfortable rocking your face off as they are in chill mode. The last song, “I Master” is another winner, Muldoon growling a bit over a serving of Wiggins’ hot licks. Jeff then says, “What the hell? I should just deliver a furious solo to close this thing out in style!” (I don’t know if he really said that, but the solo is REALLY good!) Holy shit, THIS is a fucking rock song!! THIS is a fucking rock album! Stone Soul Foundation are unsigned as I write this, but much like another New Ocean Media band I recently reviewed and love, Roses Unread, that should change very quickly. One spin of Electric Valley, and I think you’ll agree.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Gonna Try”, “I Master”, “Sidewalker”, “Electric Valley”, “Window”