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Soulsavers - It’s Not How Far You Fall, It’s The Way You Land

Released on Columbia/Red Ink Records, 10/16/07

It’s Not How Far You Fall, It’s The Way You Land is like a delicious, bottomless mudslide of the finest blend of elixirs that even the devout can’t renounce or get enough of. So wouldn’t that make British production rascals, Rich Machin and Ian Glover your relentless Soulsavers?

The duo are joined by Mark Lanegan famed for his stark and raw tenure work with The Screaming Trees and Queens Of The Stone Age whom heads vocals on eight of the ten tracks. Lanegan’s vocals accentuate the quieter arrangements on this album and the frailty of his baritone croon while stunning on their own, is transcending when paired with the gospel-hymn-like backdrop posted against a slick downbeat.

It’s Not How Far You Fall, It’s The Way You Land can be compared to a smack-meat collision between superstar-down-tempo Massive Attack and ultra indie-cult-dignified, Tom Waits. It’s also a bit of Portishead, a little Bjork, a sprinkle of Hector Zazou, and a breath of Air holding congregation in a desert oasis somewhere. Throw some spiritual-Kingdom-come strings (like the dramatic music you hear heralding a big fight) and an electronic hipster’s version of a percussive heartbeat with Lanegan’s commanding vox, and boom, you will bear witness to its musical revelations.

Soulsavers’ second release opens the hymnals with "Revival", the first single. Throughout the album are a whole hell of a lot of soul singers in the background, a gritty church organ or two and not much you’d expect. Unlike their first album from 2003, Tough Guys Don’t Dance, where raunchy loud guitars and remix beats were of a highlight, this album summons you back into the earthly mystery more than the carnal lust that devours most.

Mark Lanegan’s poignant vocals on "Spiritual" sings singularly and repeatedly, “Jesus, Jesus, I don’t wanna die alone.” You have to hear it to feel it, and it's reminiscent of Johnny Cash’s vocal delivery on Nine Inch Nails’ "Hurt". Paying further homage of sorts is the cover of The Rolling Stones’ "No Expectations". And there’s even a church echoing cover of Lanegan’s own "Kingdoms of Rain".

The music stands alone even when they are bare without Lanegan’s vocals, but when present it is where the spiritual crux explodes and make fireworks. On a cold, dark and stormy night, give this record a turn. You will find salvation and sing its praises.

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars