This is one of those glorious albums that you stick on expecting nothing much, and half an hour later you’re staring in shock at the speakers, eyes wide, hair windswept and the pictures on the wall all knocked askew. Ok, we exaggerate, but you get the idea.
The London Souls are Led Zeppelin reincarnated (ok, almost). We don’t mean they play Communication Breakdown over and over or that their drummer thinks hitting the snare with planks will make him John Bonham: what we mean is that they casually across the genres playing dirty takes on soul, funky, blues and rock ‘n’ roll. You want a blistering guitar solo? Here. You want some hippy folk? There you go. They throw in some Beatlesish melodic pop as well.
They’re not offering anything new — Led Zep already did the mixing up of folk, funk, blues and rock n roll thing — but they do it well.
London Souls are guitarist/ singer Tash Neal and drummer/ singer Chris St Hilaire, who play every instrument, reminding us of the old joke about Ringo being the second best drummer in the Beatles; whatever they do, they do well.
Opener When I’m With You is a gentle song, a 60s-inspired tune that first time off seems a little pedestrian, but has to be heard in the context of the album, and ages well with repeated plays.
Track two Steady is where it all takes off, a funk blues tune that sounds like Lenny Kravitz fronting a Free tribute band, with a blistering Page-style solo in the middle.
Just as Zep would follow blistering rock with acoustic folk, the next song is Hercules, an acoustic song, though the skittish drums give it momentum and a solid groove. It’s a bit Gallows Pole.
Alone brings back the electric guitar, but it’s a bluesy rock ‘n’ roll tune (lots of tom toms and use of the bell from the middle of the ride cymbal). Somewhere between The Doors and Cream.
And so it goes. They mix the genres at will in a palatable blend that works well. A solid album of Free/Zep inspired blues would soon get dull, unless you’re Royal Blood, and the forays into folk, funk and southern boogie keep it all fresh.