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The Big Takeover Issue #94
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Near Death Experience - Soul (Charisma Bypass)

14 May 2024

Soul. It’s an intriguing word. Ian Whiteling makes the most of the word in both of the senses that it could be used here. You can’t take his soul. You can’t, not in terms of that spiritual essence that resides inside him nor regarding the musical moods and sonic vibes which ooze through this song of the same name. And neither should you; both are what powers this great song; they both constituent parts of what makes it great – the spiritual and the sonic!

Near Death Experience is not only a great name for a band (almost on par with Near Jazz Experience, but that’s for another time), but they also make a great sound, blending rock, soul, psychedelia, and pop together in various amounts to create whatever mood, vibe, sound, or style they need at any given moment.

“Soul,” as the name suggests, errs on the side of the smooth and seductive; it is full of soulful (natch!) guitar licks and brilliant basslines that combine melody and muscle and no small amount of breezy brass that meanders through, softening the edges and adding a mellifluous quality to the proceedings. (I’m not even 100% sure what mellifluous means, but it sounds like the right word, dontcha think?)

Groovy and anthemic, “Soul” nods back to the golden age of the genre from which it takes its name but is also the sound of it navigating the modern age. Genres are hopped, grooves are laid down, rugs are cut, wigs are flipped, and crazy shapes are thrown…or whatever it is, the cool kids are saying these days.

Music glue