REVIEW: Odd Soul – “Movies”

The Birmingham, UK sextet Odd Soul dropped their first EP Movies on February 2nd, 2018.  Lumping this band into one genre would be an insult to Odd Soul, due to their wonderful blend of musical styles.  They describe themselves as a mix of modern jazz, soul and post rock.  They’re comprised of Grace Archer on vocals, James Dickinson on keys and backing vocals, Olli Smith on drums, Seb Read on bass, Simon Meikle on guitar, and Rohit Jepegnanam on guitar and vocals.  One thing that stands out immediately is the incredibly catchy choruses sung by Grace Archer.  The five song EP is rather short at 22 minutes, but it is action-packed with high energy music.  So grab some popcorn, take a seat, and enjoy Odd Soul‘s Movies with all of its musical twists and turns.

The opening scene of the EP is entitled “Movies”.  The first riff automatically grabs your attention.  Odd Soul uses their dynamics extremely well.  The soft sections are very quiet and articulate while the choruses and bridges are loud and powerful.  Within the first few minutes of the song, bassist Seb Read makes his presence felt with some tasty runs that cut through the down sections.  One interesting tidbit: bassist Seb Read did the guitar and vocal tracking as well as the production.  Knowing that information will makes sense as you listen to the EP, because the bass is always audible in the mix.  “Movies” features both Grace and Rohit alternating vocals on sections and harmonizing with each other.  Their voices blend great together.  I was a little upset as the EP ran on that the male vocals were only featured on the first track.  The middle part of the song has a “Lingus” from Snarky Puppy feel to it, with the riff in 5/8.  As it builds, they add another quarter note to bring it to 6/8, which leads into an awesome high energy guitar solo.  As you think the song is ending, there is a piano outro that closes the song.

The next scene is “Shire”.  Sole piano keys start the song, transitioning well from the outro to “Movies”.  The verses are pretty trimmed down with just keys, bass and drums.  The choruses then explode with dynamics and energy.  James Dickinson really shines on this song after taking care of the intro; he has a very tasty piano solo in the middle of the song.  As the song carries on, drummer Olli Smith gets his chance to showcase his abilities with an assault of drum fills near the end of the track.  Though it seems strange for a five song EP to have an interlude, it’s actually pretty strategically placed.  “Big Smoke (Interlude)” has a very glitch hop feel to it.  The song has synth bass and electric drums driving it, with some real smooth pads.  For a song under 2 minutes, “Big Smoke” switches up the style 3 times.  The purpose of the interlude is to split up the musical styles that Odd Soul hits you with.  The first two songs are more jazz based while the last two songs have a more prog rock feel to them.

Act two of Movies begins with “Plywood”.  The song comes right in with a really catchy guitar riff.  The intro builds to a high and then drops down to the first verse with just bass, hi hat shuffles and some keys.  Grace once again lays down a very memorable chorus with ‘I know I will keep on fighting to the end, because hope is all we have to cling to’.  They build up with a proggy guitar riff and Grace repeating ‘Sleep well tonight knowing full well you’ll be alright’.  The song continues to build with a heavy distorted guitar riff reminiscent of Minus the Bear.  One very cool thing that happens with this outro riff is the removal of a quarter note so the song switches to 7/8.

The final scene is entitled “BDBBD”, which very cleverly stands for ‘Ba Da Ba Ba Da’.  The intro riff brings Thank You Scientist to mind, and in the midst of it bassist Seb Read does a Jaco Pastorius sounding fill.  After the first chorus, there is a half time trap style breakdown with the keys driving the section.  Before the credits roll, the guitarists pound out a “Purple Haze” sounding riff that builds even more when the bass comes pulsing in.  From here, the song intensifies into a Rage Against The Machine style guitar and bass line.  “BDBBD” accelerates then into a Snarky Puppy-inspired rhythm, then they repeat the last two sections as Movies climbs to its climax, right as the screen goes black.

For Movies being Odd Soul‘s first offering, they sure leave an impression.  I’m very excited to hear where they go from here.  Their sound is incredibly original and all of the musicians are on top of their game.  This is one of those Movies that you can watch over and over again!


Score: 8/10

Notable Tracks: “Movies”; “Shire”; “Plywood”

FFO: Snarky Puppy, Jordan Rakei, Thank You Scientist

You can follow Odd Soul on Facebook, stream them on Spotify, and find Movies on their Bandcamp.

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