Share SPANISH TOUR EP - The Soul Movers (Cool Time Records)
Three tracks are more welcome than none, so think of this as a "Hello, we're still here" message from this multi-national soul-rock combo. Recorded in Sydney, mixed in Montana, mastered in Texas and marketed initially for Spain to support a September 2010 tour, it's a brief but worthy release.

Diversity rules: "Fight For Love" is a strident soul-rocker, "Hey Baby" a smoky piano-driven piece and "The Man I've Been Waiting For" a mid-tempo cruiser. They're all keepers and stand up against the album tracks. The songs are by Lizzie Mack and guitarist Deniz Tek.

Pip Hoyle was absent for this recording so bass player Andy Newman and occasional US member Ron Sanchez added piano and organ. Calvin Welch, the band's Sydney-based but internationally in-demand live drummer, makes his Soul Movers studio debut. That's another reason to track this down.

There's a nice warmth to the recording. No stylistic boundaries are being pushed here but that's not the brief; there's no lack of timeless soulful style. Our copy came from Mojo Music in Sydney. - The Barman


 

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ON THE IN SIDE - The Soul Movers (Cool Time Records/Career)
In which Deniz Tek and accomplice Lizzie Mack tap their '60s soul and beat group influences with unabashed enjoyment, shooting preconceptions like fish in a barrel.

Flashback to the '60s. The sounds emanating from Michigan radio stations like CKLW, WKNR and WXYZ had just as much impact on young Ann Arborite Deniz Tek as the primal dissonance and bluster of the more often-cited Stooges and MC5. Not just the commercial Motown output, but also the rough 'n' greasy stuff coming from Stax in Memphis and local labels like Fortune.

The soul influence might not have been overtly apparent by the time a relocated Tek cranked up the machine called Radio Birdman in his new homebase Australia, but more recently he's been a big fan of the way the Detroit Cobras rifled through their cupboards of obscure soul and garage singles to produce timeless and fun records. Perth-born Lizzie Mack's of the same mind so "On The IN Side" is their attempt to do the same, but with mostly original material.

And there's a nary a flat spot on this journey through 12 great tunes, all but three of them Tek-Mack compositions. From the sublimely strident opener "Stickin' Around" (with whistling solo) to the playful rumble of closer "Krazy Kats", this is a heartfelt and fun trip.

The "Piece O' Me" single on Munster was an appealing if not entirely representative taster for the rest of the album. That one shuffles up next to you and hums its message in your ear, where most of the rest of "On The IN Side" ("Hold Me" excepted) is moreup-tempo. This an album where the songs rule, and the playing is superb.

Top of the pile is "Not With Her" where keyboardist Pip Hoyle plays the coolest game of tag with Tek's evocative guitar licks, but there's plenty more that goes close to matching it.

For one, the sultry take on Carolyn Sullivan's 1967 "Dead" which emits wafts of smoke that a fire brigade couldn't douse via a bang-on tenor saxophone part - courtesy of Frank Bennett - and an aching Miss Mack vocal. Bennett adds the requisite spice to "Low And Slow" but it's the feel that nails this one, with Hothouse Studio honcho Craig Harnath laying down warm, fluid bass and ex Sparrows/Pictures member Brett Wolfenden pushing the beat on drums.

Let's talk expectations: Don't expect ear-shattering solos, feedback or sharp-edged riffing from The Iceman. "On The IN Side" shows the clean and subtle side to his playing that's too often ignored. It'll confound the shit out of legions of Birdman fans - but that's life.

Guests include Ron Peno on backing vocals and Tek's Visitors comrade Mark Sisto who takes the lead on "Gotta Run."

Speaking of vocals, Miss Lizzie has delivered in spades. It's one thing to be in the audience, another entirely to be behind the microphone. She's got great range and confidence, plus there's a warm presence and soulful power in her voice that lives up to the promise of the songs.

Needless to say, production via Harnath, Finn Keane and Tek at Melbourne's Hothouse Studios is first-class and the whole thing sounds suitably authentic.

This album's a winner. Grab it through Citadel in Australia, Career in the USA. - The Barman


3/4

 

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