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Soulmate Keep The Blues Alive: ‘Ten Stories Up’ Album Review

Find a decade’s worth of stories and some great guitar licks in the Shillong blues rock band’s third album

Anurag Tagat Mar 10, 2014
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Soulmate's Tipriti Kharbangar Photo: Bobin James

Soulmate’s Tipriti Kharbangar Photo: Bobin James

[easyreview cat1title = “Ten Stories Up” cat1rating = 3.5 cat1detail = “Springboard Surprises”]

'Ten Stories Up' album art

‘Ten Stories Up’ album art

The roar that rings in with Soulmate’s opening track “Sunshine” riffs on for over eight minutes. Never once would you complain, though, given how the Hendrix-like rhythm drives the track. Vocalist and lead guitarist Rudy Wallang crunches out one wall of sound after another as vocalist-guitarist Tipriti Kharbangar’s comes unhinged. But just like the last three minutes of “Sunshine,” the album has its mellow moments. Kharbangar pulls off both white hot power vocals and slow-burning blues with equal ease as heard on “Lie,” a track that she wrote, the soul and blues rock mash that is “Sadness” and the mellow rock track “Tell Me.”

Right from the opening track “Sunshine,” an ode to the sun, you realize that the album is Kharbangar and Wallang’s expression of mutual love and admiration found on tracks such as “Hear Me Woman.” As much as Wallang’s guitars go quite and meditative on tracks like “Sadness,” he cracks open a great solo every now and then and even does a fun riff on “The Dream.” The track involves every blues rock guitarist’s fantasy ”“ jamming with the likes of B.B. King, Buddy Guy and growing as a guitarist.

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The rest of Ten Stories Up is about celebration ”“ “I’ll Be Around” is sure to make you break into a jig while “Keep The Blues Alive” is perfect as both a set closer and the penultimate track on the album. Soulmate close the curtains with the gospel blues song “Nobody But You, Lord,” which makes Ten Stories Up a diverse mix of blues ”“ staying true to the greats, nodding towards genres like jazz and psychedelic rock.

Key Tracks: “Sunshine,” “The Dream,” “Lie”

This review appeared in the March 2014 issue of ROLLING STONE India.

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