By Daniel Westover
The Revivalists release Men Amongst Mountains on July 17th and this album is about New Orleans soul. It practically reeks of the warm as vocalist David Shaw captures every essence of the bayou, and makes you wish you were there hearing him sing. There really isn’t a bad song in the lot on this album, and I think the highest praise I can give is that. You’ll want to sing along, and you’ll fail. Until maybe your thirtieth time through. Shaw’s phrasings and vocal range are both unpredictable and impressive, and the songs allow him an ample playground for his feats.
Yes, it’s a seven-piece band, which features Zack Feinberg on guitar, Andrew Campbell on drums, Ed Williams on pedal steel, George Gekas on bass, Rob Ingraham on sax, and Michael Giradot on trumpet and keys. But they serve largely to promote the song and the singer. Collectively, they have a powerful sound which recalls Phil Spector – not much flash, but a very consistent background which accentuates the vocals. From the opener, “Keep Going,” with its horn harmonies and catchy hook, you know you’re in for a treat. I almost want to compare it to the Dave Matthews Band, but I won’t, because these guys are better. “Gold to Glass” is almost a reggae tune; “It Was a Sin,” follows as simple swingy blues. But we’re just getting started.
About half-way through the album, they crank it to eleven, and let the band play. It’s a nice build, and you see what they are capable of live. “Stand Up” has an infectious groove, and the notes that Ingraham hits during the closing, wailing solo are not at all natural. “All in the Family” is almost a metal song, and features a wailing guitar solo that seems to come out of nowhere – but is fantastic.
As a whole, this album is a really good collective piece of work, and hints at just how good they are playing live. I know I’ll be there.