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  Soul Migration  

Eric Loren

  Ridiculous Records  
Release Date:
Reviewed by:
  Indoor Miner  

When Rod Stewart strode across the ocean in those giant silver platforms on the cover of Atlantic Crossing album, he was just the latest in a long line of British artists that deserted this dear old island for the so-called Land of Milk and Honey. Take Jimi Hendrix out of the equation, however, and examples of Americans coming over here for anything more than a quickfire tour and an opportunity to mime for three minutes on Top of the Pops, are pretty thin on the ground. But now, in the shape of singer-songwriter Eric Loren, a London based native of Boston, there's another worthy addition to that, er, list…

Soul Migration, Loren's excellent debut album, opens in a rather understated manner with the gentle, acoustic strummed intro of All This World. Initially, you think that this is maybe the wrong track to start an album with, but those doubts are soon booted out when the chorus kicks in, because this song is a belter. Loren's double-tracked vocals lift the song to a higher place, before it all comes crashing down again with some (simulated I guess) strings that add a beautiful, mournful feel to its sad descent. The album continues with Beautiful World, which has a similar structure to All This World in that the quiet-ish verse doesn't really prepare you for the whopping big chorus. Indeed, Beautiful World is one of the strongest tracks on the album for me, and not just because it's so strong melodically or because of Loren's great yearning vocals on top of the sweetest of harmonies. I love the great electro wig out at the end that brings a real feeling of spontaneity to things.

Loren is no one trick pony, however, as Embrace Me is a much gentler affair with Loren, over some acoustic guitar and McCartney-like chord structures, sounding not unlike George Michael in his better moments. This laid back feel doesn't last long though, because the next track, I Never Wept, is an altogether more powerful thing. On this song, guitars which resemble the steamroller sound that The Sex Pistols used to such good effect are eventually replaced by some nice Edge-like chiming effects. In fact, this is probably as good as place as any to mention Adam Fox, the man responsible not only for this guitar playing, but the production as well. He definitely deserves a pat on the back as the songs always come across as being fully realised. Occasionally, there's an odd effect, like the vocoder vocals and rattly percussive moments on the vaguely psychedelic sounding Falling. Still, Soul Migration never comes across as sounding over-produced. Ultimately, the melodies steal the show, and the only song that doesn't really do it for me is Change, as I don't feel the harder edge plays to Loren's melodic strengths. Even so, Change has a great Eastern sounding intro that brings to mind something like the George Harrison penned Beatles b-side The Inner Light.

The album closes strongly, too. First we get I Had A Thought, which reminds me of Todd Rundgren's classic 45 I Saw The Light (and as such is a great pop song!), but with an added powerful, yet melodic bassline and an excellent funky outro. It's the best track on the album for me. However, Whenever The Sun Shines, which wraps proceedings up in fine style with a killer chorus, isn't far behind.

I'm not sure what happens here for Loren. A quick perusal of his website shows that there's no live dates planned at the moment, which is a shame because he owes it to his songs to get out there and play them. In the absence of that, you're just gonna have to take my word for it. So ignore all these tenth rate singer-songwriters like David Gray and Damien Rice that sell in their millions on the back of – respectively – a wobbly head and a naff cover of Creep. If you want a good old-fashioned pop album with more hooks than a Peter Pan convention, then you really should try this on for size.

Related Links:

Eric Loren's website, wherein you can download a few tunes from this album.


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