Scream of the Crop
First Appeared at The Music Box, November 2001, Volume 8, #11
Written by John Metzger
Some bands immediately leap to stardom; others take awhile to get there. Most bands, however, toil forever, trying to find the right combination of events to garner some publicity and hence, spark widespread interest. Soulfarm is one of these. Under the moniker Inasense, the group had managed to grab moderate attention along the east coast, particularly on the jam band circuit, but it was never able to rise above the fray of the highly competitive scene. Seeking to stand out, the group sought to try something different. It altered its course, and rather than alienate fans, a name change was implemented to signal the new direction.
Sadly, Scream of the Crop — Soulfarm's first studio effort since reconfiguring itself as an adult contemporary outfit — won't do much to raise the group's profile. For sure, the disc is full of pleasant pop-oriented, folk-rock songs — the type of tunes (save for the Perry Farrell sung funk-groove track From This Day On) that fits more closely with '70s FM radio playlists than their '90s corporate rock counterparts. Holy Brother, with its shimmering harmonies and gentle sway, sounds like a lost track from Loggins and Messina, and the slick, smooth groove of The Ride is positively jubilant, served on bed of percolating rhythms and perky acoustic guitar streams.
Such is the way of most of the tracks on Scream of the Crop, and herein lies the problem. The album steadily rolls along — beautifully performed, but ultimately unassuming and bland, often treading ground better covered by the likes of Leftover Salmon, String Cheese Incident, Freddy Jones Band, and Ekoostik Hookah. While Soulfarm is certainly much improved with its reasonably solid lyrics and easily accessible melodies, its members have yet to achieve transcendence. Perhaps with time, this will come. Or perhaps Soulfarm will just continue to toil modestly in that generic sea of retro rock. ½
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2001 The Music Box