Tortured Soul: Did You Miss Me

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Posted September 13, 2010 by J Matthew Cobb in Reviews 1.0

torturedsoul00Delicate mix of soulful house and chill-out grooves give Tortured Soul the elevation they need to transcend beyond the underground dance clubs

Classic disco revelers will get adequate satisfaction when they hear the rich, bubbling melodies and grooves of Tortured Soul. Not to be confused with the Todd McFarlane comic book characters, Tortured Soul, a electronic/dance trio made up of bassist Jason Kriveloff, keyboardist Ethan White and lead vocalist/drummer John-Christian Urich, are inventively putting the booty-shaking soul back into house music. With several indie albums under their strap and with a devoted following now tracing their every step when on tour, the group – highly dominated with Urich’s beats – carves out an improved formula on their latest Did You Miss Me; supported with a cleaner production, FutureSex synths and a few extra mood changers perfect for album transitions.

Opening the album is the infectious “Home to You,” which paces itself like Change’s “The Glow of Love” – with the help of Ethan White’s occasional piano chords and a bright melody perfect for surreal disco heavens. “In My Fantasy,” its follow-up, is the perfect blend of funky R&B and ‘80’s Euro-disco. “Your Dream Is My Dream,” “Another Lover” and the upbeat party grooves of “Special Lady” are just as tantalizing in its gravitational pulls to the dance floor (the latter contains a rap segment with Urich spitting out lyrics faster than his rapid-paced drum work). To even out the album with more than just club thrills are satisfying instrumentals designed like full-length interludes. “In Motion” bubbles up like a long lost uptempo track from contemporary jazz group Fourplay. “We Like Tequila” is cool, playful and slick. They even bring together the classic Motown percussion sounds on the Hitsville-inspired title track. “Did You Miss Me” brightens up with the “Baby Love” handclaps and reminiscent guitar drives along with the cool, sexy vocals of Chrisitan Urich.

The group stumbles here and there in matching up their lyrics with its major competition – the beats. In the storylines they tend to focus a bit too long on their on-the-road tales. Up to this point, most modern electronic/dance records focus heavily on the pulsating sounds than on their commitment of developing their history of writing subpar lyrics. Thankfully Tortured Soul challenges their contemporaries with better organization and a strong dose of pop elixir. Nightlife spys will be quick in defining Did You Miss Me as a watered-down out-take of Masters at Work’s full-length envisioned productions, but don’t get upset at their hunger for accessibility. A record this fresh and invigorating is too good to be limited to the underground.

J MATTHEW COBB

HIFI DETAILS

  • Release Date: 31 Mar 2009
  • Label: TSTC
  • Producers: Tortured Soul
  • Track Favs: Home to You, Another Lover, Did You Miss Me, Special Lady, In My Fantasy

About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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