Russ Lawton & Ray Paczkowski Brew Ideal Chemistry on Soule Monde ‘Must Be Nice’ LP (ALBUM REVIEW)

Published: March 03, 2017

soulmonde1Comprised solely of percussionist Russ Lawton and keyboardist Ray Paczkowski, the simplicity of the Soule Monde lineup belies the density of sound they conjure up. As a result, the title of their second full-length album, Must Be Nice, might represent a remark rival musicians would make in admiration of this alliance between the two long-time members of the Trey Anastasio Band.

Recording largely live, Lawton and Paczkowski sound much more comfortable establishing and maintaining grooves in the studio on this latest effort than on their eponymous debut in 2012. It’s usually not fair to compare live and studio performances, but it is worth noting that hearing tracks on this album, such as “Influence Too” (with its furious close) and “Compared to Jody,” can elicit much the same response as observing Soule Monde on stage:  the duo sound like a much larger ensemble.

These two musicians’ respective styles of playing are the natural and subsequently effortless source (s) of their wholly original material here and, in turn, their arrangements of the songs. It might not become obvious right away (unless perhaps headphones are in place), but Must Be Nice’s all-Vermont recording and mixing (at Lovetown Studios) plus mastering (at The Tank) might well approximate the sensation of sitting between the Lawton and Paczkowski on, among other cuts, “Immigrant Too”:  the hard-hitting drumming alternately slaps and hammers, while organ lines swirl around the clipped syncopation coming from the clavinet .

Soule Monde continuously swings too, and in unusual ways, for instance, as they jump in and out of the breakdowns contained in “Rocket.” Meantime, in keeping with the title of  “Take My Hand,”  Lawton and Paczkowski generate an increasingly insistent pace during the course of its seven minutes plus. One of the comparatively longer of the eight tracks comprising Must Be Nice, it is nevertheless as streamlined as its surroundings, cuts timing between five and six minutes (except for the two and half duration approximately on the melodica-laced “Kota”), the instrumental purity of which Soule Monde preserve with minimal and largely unobtrusive overdubbing.

If there was any thought of adding vocals to render this music more accessible (sic), no evidence appears to that effect and the continuity over the course of the record suggests such modification is wholly unnecessary. On the contrary, Soule Monde distinguishes themselves throughout Must Be Nice, as thoroughly with the quietly haunting “Mina,” for instance, as during the bouncy likes of “Took You Long Enough” in all its is danceable glory. The complementary nature of those numbers mirrors the chemistry between Russ Lawton and Ray Paczkowski which, in turn, should compel repeated playings of this record and subsequently reveal an admirable durability.


The post Russ Lawton & Ray Paczkowski Brew Ideal Chemistry on Soule Monde ‘Must Be Nice’ LP (ALBUM REVIEW) appeared first on Glide Magazine.

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