No Place Like Soul

After playing instrumental music for eight years, occasionally featuring guest singers, the popular soul/funk jam group Soulive is recreating itself as a vocal-driven quartet with the new addition of the singer Toussaint, who’s previously spent years touring with the reggae group the China Band. For their fourth album, No Place Like Soul, Soulive decided to push themselves further and find out what they are capable of producing with a permanent vocalist in the band.

The results are decidedly successful, though a clear departure from their past work. The new Soulive sounds like an explosively energetic cross between Sly and the Family Stone and the modern island-based band Fiji. No Place Like Soul is the kind of album you throw on in the background at a party when you want to impress people with your eclectic good tastes while still keeping the party rocking. As Toussaint’s energetic vocals implore in the funky song Morning Light: “Dance to the morning light!” What guest would feel the urge to defy his instructions, especially when accompanied by such a smooth beat?

The drums and the organ, provided by brothers Alan and Neal Evans (respectively), along with the guitar by Eric Krasno and vocals by Toussaint mix together so seamlessly it’s hard to imagine that this is Toussaint’s first collaboration with the rest of the group. The album makes its way through several types of music, from reggae/hip-hop to sweetly crooned love songs, still maintaining a clear funk vibe throughout. No Place Like Soul is the rare album that can be comfortably played straight through or on shuffle and still keep an even flow.

No Place Like Soul also marks the 50th anniversary of Stax Records and is the first release from one of the three bands newly signed to the label. The other two are Angie Stone and Isaac Hayes.

To purchase No Place Like Soul (after July 31st), visit Amazon 

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