Experiment on a Flat Plane
First Appeared at The Music Box, February 2001, Volume 8, #2
Written by John Metzger
After releasing a pair of albums through industry giant Sony (Outdebox and Good to Be Gone), Soulhat disbanded under the weight of their own personnel problems. Refusing to pack it in completely, the group was reborn in 1998 around original member Kevin McKinney, and they recently unveiled their fifth album Experiment on a Flat Plane. It is a solid effort, which long-time fans no doubt will love.
At times, Experiment on a Flat Plane is a bit too rudimentary, and the members of Soulhat struggle to find their voice. Often, the band launches into a frolicking groove, but they then proceed to work it to death — never taking it anywhere and proving that you can get too much of a good thing. As a result, interest in songs like Mailbox, Plastic, and My Man Joe will quickly wane over the course of their four-minute durations.
Occasionally, however, the band hits on something that works well for them. Gone effectively blends the Allman Brothers Band's trademark sound with Dave Mason's Feelin' Alright, as oscillating electric guitar riffs push against a pulse of percolating percussion. Likewise, the frenetically countryfied WNBA merges Phish's Poor Heart with CCR's Lookin' out My Back Door.
The best track on the album, however, is by far Flat Plane. Its lofty melody glides effortlessly over a bed of acoustic instrumentation and is reminiscent of the best that Big Head Todd & the Monsters has to offer. It's here that Soulhat manages to ignite the fire and passion that makes for good music, allowing listeners to glimpse just why their fervent, Austin-based fans find them so endearing.
Experiment on a Flat Plane is available from Barnes & Noble.
To order, Click Here!
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2001 The Music Box