Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal – Green Light
With a vocal lean that once fired up the charts by David Clayton-Thomas & Blood Sweat & Tears, this band led by Josh Hoyer (vocals/Hammond B3/Wurlitzer/electric piano/baritone sax/producer) has a reliable tight brass unit that instills the same groove admirably 55-years later.
With their 6th LP Green Light (Drops Oct 21-Independent) of 10 Hoyer originals, recorded in Denver, CO it has discernible performances & excellent vocals. But it lacks a mainstream hook-laden drive necessary to draw commercial attention. Vocally Hoyer is soulfully rich, but the songs are rather characterized by the genre rather than advancing it. Hoyer is a good singer & the band has expertise. But they need a seasoned producer.
Blood Sweat & Tears suffered from the same issue on their first LP but then a radical change came when they added David Clayton Thomas on their 2nd album after reassessing their material. Their success on their 2nd LP produced 3 hit singles & a Grammy win. This formula continued on the next LP.
This is where Hoyer needs to take the very capable Soul Colossal. Hoyer has the voice but the ability to allow their music to “pop” in average listeners’ ears needs to be refined. At present they’re relying too heavily on R&B & soulfulness & limiting their song-plugging appeal. They have the ingredients, ability & finesse. There should be more nourishment & fewer carbs.
What is commendable is that the musicians work in a genre that’s been in the slow lane since the highly successful brass band Chicago lost its momentum & creativity. Many songs here have good grooves but little in the way of a hook. “Mr. One Up,” boasts a bright trumpet solo that should’ve been augmented by a strong trombone. This was close to being commercially viable.
“Beautiful People,” is a good assertive tune with well-propelled horns, good sound, crisp drums & backup vocals despite the song itself being a bit economical lyrically. It does profess a good message.
While the band isn’t Blood Sweat & Tears or Chicago (yet) in their originality & exuberance Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal does succeed with their soul-stirring Ides of March (“Vehicle”) & Climax (“Park Preserve”) mannerisms with similar vocal-stylings as Hoyer — but both of those bands had fiery charts & were highly commercial & hook-filled.
Solos on this LP are all assuredly delicious especially on “Shou Shou Do.” They’ll ultimately be fine because they can play. Highlights – “Loneliness,” “Mirrors,” “Green Light,” “Mr. One Up,” “Beautiful People,” & “Business As Usual.”
Musicians – Benjamin Kushner (guitar), Mike Keeling (bass), Harrison ElDorado (drums/percussion/bgv), Blake DeForest (trumpet/bgv), James Cuato (tenor sax), Myles Jasnowski (bgv), Skye Junginger (sax solo on “Crazy Love”).
Photo courtesy of Michael McGrath. CD @ https://www.joshhoyer.com/
Enjoy our previous coverage here: Bentley’s Bandstand: October 2022