Music Like Dirt
our score: 3.5 out of 5.0
Soul Hooligan is a British trio whose first album
careens wildly between electronic pop, techno, rock, downtempo,
soul, new wave, blues, and rap. They sound kind of like the Beta
Band, but only kind of, considering that "Who's To Say"
is a straight-up Gomez rip, and I'm not the first person to remark
on the similarity between opener "Algebra" and half
the songs on the Gorillaz album. So this should be a slam-dunk
review, right? Critics were invented to diss bands like this.
Easy lines come to mind: "Soul Hooligan are jacks of all
genres...and masters of none!" or "Soul Hooligan proves
that they can do anything...except sound good!"
But these clichés just wouldn't be true.
Actually, this album is a lot of fun when it tries to be; I think
it's pretty ballsy--and it sounds pretty great in the car. "Turn
Your Head Around" is a psychedelic stunner with a way-too-fast
beat and a couple great harmonica riffs; Dave Jay's rap on "Stoop
Kid" is repetitive but not actually too awful to listen to,
as long as you don't take hip-hop too seriously; and "Addicted"
is glorious butt-shaking miserableness. It's all very much "Hey,
Mom, we made an album! Look what we can do!" And just exactly
why is that a problem?
Oh, I'm not
saying that Soul Hooligan will someday conquer the world, or that
this is the CD that I'd want playing if the other critics were
coming over. But who cares about all that? It's FUN, damn it,
and that's what music's supposed to be. "Numb in Both Lips"
is definitely the bizness, despite its blatant jacks from "It
Takes Two" and "This is a D.A.I.S.Y. Age," and
the way it butts up against the Brit-poppy "Psychedelic Soul"
will make your head spin around a few times. And just exactly
why is that a problem?
I did feel guilty a couple of times for not worrying
about the lyrics, but Jim Sumner's voice is too pretty and soulful
to worry about what he's actually saying. Yeah, he sounds a bit
like Ben Ottewell like Gomez, but he's not doing that on purpose
-- he's just got one of those great Memphis soul voices, except
that he's from London. And studio whiz Austin Reynolds provides
you with some weird little soundscapes that you won't be able
to get out of your head for at least a few hours or so.
And check out the last track, the five-minute
"Time Goes By." It's straight-up Pink Floyd blues, and
it sounds perfectly appropriate. Man, what is happening to me?
Am I liking this record? Have I lost my damned mind? Well, yes
to both of the last two questions.
03-Sep-2002 9:15 PM
liked Music Like Dirt...
3. Turn You Head Around
4. Soul Searching
5. Numb In Both Lips
6. Psychedelic Soul
7. Night Owl
8. Start The Day
9. Stoop Kid
10. Who's To Say
11. Time Goes By