Nov 3, 2009
Euforquestra - Soup
Soup, the new album from Eufórquestra captures a band at peak performance in terms of songwriting, musicianship and energy. The album features 11 tracks (10 songs and 1 dub remix) that showcase how the group’s songwriting/arranging skills have grown in the last three and a half years. In classic Eufórquestra fashion, Soup jumps seamlessly between genres, creating a diverse but cohesive ride for the listener. Long time fans will enjoy a well-produced batch of many of their favorite songs, while new listeners will have stumbled upon one of the most eclectic and musically competent bands on the scene today.
Recent Fort Collins via Iowa City transplants Euforquestra have done everything an ambitious yet humble band needs to do right, for the better half of this decade. Expanding their sound and fan base (and, presumably, their minds) by going west, the seven-piece has added flourishes of dub, a logical conclusion after dalliances in Afrobeat, salsa, samba, and funk. Soup, the band's third full length, is slick and smooth Saturday night party jams laden with lyrics reflective of the Midwestern dreadie zeitgeist.
The record storms in with "Cause A Reaction," everything pushed to eleven before settling into a hypnotic groove that doesn't let up until the reprise "Cause a Dub," expertly produced by the band’s alto saxophonist Ryan Jeter. The African-tinged interplay between guitarist Mike Tallman and the dual percussionists on the title track's warped middle section shows a lot of promise. "The Events of December 11" features a hook that compels the listener to Google the 2007 ice storm that left the boys powerless and scared. The lyrics obliquely evoke images of the more infamous -ember 11th, whether the intent was witty irreverence or frustration, one recalls George W. Bush using a similar phrase as the sole reason for the unprovoked invasion of a Iraq.
The band is most at home on the instrumentals, as their vocal harmonies can't possibly keep up with their hands. Fortunately, the non-Western influences shine enough to ensure repeated listens. The lyric-heavy tracks, long the bane of bands with Euforquestra's caliber chops, never weigh the band down. At nearly 63 minutes, the record is never short on ideas. With new surroundings, they should have no trouble concocting another Soup, which is good news for anyone craving a second bowl.
Similar to a 5 year old on Christmas morning, I tore through the plastic wrapping that surrounded the gem I was about to blessed with hearing. Eufoquestra's latest CD, Soup, is scheduled to be released October 6th , and will be the bands third studio creation following their last studio release, Explorations in Afrobeat in March of 2006. Having successfully toured relentlessly for the last 2 years, which has included 300 live performances, it is remarkable that the band has had time to create new music. Even more shocking, the band created an amazing album, not just a new content within those constraints.
From the first track, “Cause A Reaction”, you are immediately captured by the melodic rhythms and power message in their lyrics. As the horns blew and the drums beat, the song quick dropped into sequence that reminded me of Sublime. Not only relating to the melody of a style I enjoy, the lyrics resonated closely to my personal beliefs. The words conveyed a message about a collective awakening of the current societal issues that are present. More importantly, the song talks about unity and creating change from that bond of an awakening consciousness.
Finding it hard to sit still in my seat, “Melody Truck” provides an uplifting sound that simply brings a smile to your face. It is tracks like this that remind us why we all love the music of the Jam Community, positive energy. It was during “Soup” that Mike Tallman's soothing guitar brings you back to happy places in your mind, the kind that leave you feeling refreshed and alive. The reggae styles during “Called You” show the true diversity and talent of the band, switching from styles of Funk to Samba to Afrobeat to Afrocuban, the band's self proclaimed style “Afro-Caribbean-Barnyard-Funk” is well suited considering the bands diversity throughout the album.
Returning to the theme of deeper meaning and dynamic lyrics, “Change Me” speaks to individuality and personal responsibility. It is not only the lyrics that grab your soul, but the hard line drums of Adam Grosso and Josten Foley. Diverse lyrics and enchanting sounds, it is songs like “Feel Together” that get you off your feet and moving madly across the room in blissful state of mind. After all, as the song tells us,
...The energy of life pushing forward like it is meant to be...
...We can be the change we want our children to see...
It is the flowing rhythms and musical diversity that will bring this CD to the top of your rotation list. If you are looking to turn on CD and uplift your spirit, look no further, Soup is here. Thank you to the band for putting out music that conveys such a powerful and positive message, just what the world needs to hear.
1. Cause A Reaction
2. Melody Truck
4. The Events of December 11
5. Called You
8. Change Me
9. Dr. Standby
10. Feel Together
11. Cause A Dub
The album can be downloaded for free here.