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Tracey, Michael: Still Got Soul

While Still Got Soul is the fourth solo album from Michael Tracey, I have to admit that up until now he's remained a completely unknown commodity to me. Teaming up with Ra and Starset producer Sahaj Ticotin for his latest outing has no doubt helped the talented singer and songwriter to gain some extra notice, while a Christmas single from last year, "Poinsettia Red" (which is added here as a bonus cut) also helped raise that profile. So while Still Got Soul arrives from a slightly more privileged position, so it also comes with a little bit of pressure on its shoulders. Not that you'd guess from song titles such as "Laughter", "Hopeful" or "Sweet Smile", the hugely upbeat outlook also transferred to the uptempo, smile inducing jangle of the aforementioned album opening "Laughter". "My Lisa" follows up with a sound so bright it nearly dazzles, but in many ways that's also the main reason that Still Got Soul doesn't quite live up to its name.

Even with a ten track list that raises the sweet smiles alluded to earlier, what's lacking in places is a more reserved attack, or a grittier approach, or something that just sounds a little more… unforced, maybe? That sounds like a damning inditement but there is a huge amount to enjoy as Tracey brings his undoubtedly infectious tones to bare on "Call Me Wild" (which actually sounds just a little too tame). That said, there'a huge market for this bright, blatant pop-rock-country hybrid and it's easy to imagine a host of people singing along with the slower "Savannah Nights", or the funkier slide of "Shake It". And, it has to be said, in an era where the track is much more important to an artist's prospects than the album will ever be, the fact that each and every song in evidence possesses that instant, memorable sing along quality maybe shouldn't be so easily overlooked. However, taken as a whole and in one sitting, things can become a little too one dimensional, possibly even a little calculated at times.

With the right exposure Still Got Soul could well be huge, the massive crossover appeal undoubted. Yet for the more serious rock-set, it could be possible to add a question mark to this album's title. Has Michael Tracey still got soul? I'm not so sure…

Track Listing
1. Laughter
2. My Lisa
3. Still Got Soul
4. Call Me Wild
5. No More Waiting
6. Sweet Smile
7. Savannah Night
8. Shake It
9. Hopeful
10. Raven
11. Poinsettia Red

Added: December 3rd 2017
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Michael Tracey online
Hits: 1488
Language: english

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