We will admit when reading the press release for new album Power, that US outfit Seratones had set about “trading in the brash proto-punk of their critically acclaimed debut for a timeless brand of gritty soul, one that takes its cues from vintage Motown and Stax even as it flirts with modern synthesizers and experimental arrangements” we had the beginning of a sinking feeling as Get Gone was one vigorously thrilling and addictive encounter. Dipping into its successor though, we quite simply found something even more glorious and irresistible; that casual perusal becoming a rapacious devouring in swift time.
The melodic and soulful prowess of the Shreveport quintet was certainly no secret within their debut album but has just been set alight through the band’s classic inspirations for their hungrily evolving sound and second full-length. The vocals of AJ Haynes again grips attention, within Power her presence and delivery a siren drawing ears and appetite eagerly into the melodic and soulful rock ‘n’ roll of the release. She seems to hungrily relish the new direction in the band’s sound while alongside the major shift in its evolution has led to original guitarist Connor Davis leaving and guitarist Travis Stewart and keyboardist Tyran Coker enlisted to join Haynes, drummer Jesse Gabriel, and bassist Adam Davis; a union which from start to finish had the body grooving and passions racing within Power.
Produced by Cage The Elephant guitarist Brad Shultz, the album instantly lays down the richest bait with the rhythmic lure of Fear, the opener an enticing prowl before slipping into a rapacious stroll with melodic crystals breaking upon its immediate contagion. Haynes just as quickly embraces eager ears with her seductive lures, the tapestry of sixties temptation inciting swinging hips and feet to be as boisterous as the appetite for the song’s sweltering temptation. The first irresistible moment of the release, the song sets the tone and adventure of Power whilst hinting at its diverse web of temptation.
The throaty lure of Davis’ bass is just as manipulative within the album’s following title track, with the animation of Gabriel’s beats rousing an eager canter awash with the caresses of Coker’s keys. Instincts again are quickly sparked by the song, the body bouncing to its enthused energy and movement as vocals and melodies rise with matching persuasion and shimmering heat. If the first track had the listener physically doing its bidding, its successor is pure slavery with creative devilment roaring with a blend of The Crystals bred pop and the power soul of Chantal Claret (Morning wood) and living up to its name in strength, roar, and heart.
Heart Attack follows with a just as enslaving sound and character, Haynes alluring voice an immediate persuasion amongst oriental spiced melodic teasing before another insatiable surge of pop ‘n’ soul flavoured rock ‘n’ roll breaks out. There is a relatively more controlled urgency to its stride compared to those before it even with the hint of power pop insistency with the keys a beguiling shimmer of intimation, one which effortlessly seduced before Lie To My Face brings its own individual temptation and presence forward. It too found no resistance to its slow compelling saunter and heated melodies as subtle but piercing hooks line voice and sound with inescapable resourcefulness.
An echo of the band’s earlier proto-punk styled sound sizzles within next up Gotta Get To Know Ya, lurking around even as the track erupts with spiky R&B revelry. The song’s funk swing gets under the skin within a host of further seconds; its pop instincts just as vocal within the punk breath escaping its lungs while Over You deviously provoked and received full involvement with a seduction akin to a fusion of Aretha Franklin and Mari Wilson.
The array of flavours within the core funk/soul heart of Power is as tantalising as its songs, a gospel-esque undertone to the tantalising croon of Permission with the following Sad Boi bringing a more eighties spiced electronic pop ‘n’ roll to tease and tempt adding to its wealth. Both songs beguiled as they aroused though each are slightly eclipsed by the rapturous enterprise of Who Are You Now, a slice of irresistibility with a great Asa feel to it.
Power is brought to a close by the heart bred magnetism of Crossfire, the rich prowess and call of Haynes’ vocals hugged by the intimacy of keys as dark hues resonate; it all building up to a fire of creative drama for one spellbinding end to a simply magnificent release.
Seratones has taken a bold step with their sound and we can only say we have all been blessed as one of the year’s most essential moments has been born.
Power is out now through New West Records; available @ https://seratones.bandcamp.com/album/power
Pete RingMaster 05/09/2019
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright