Formed in Los Angeles in 2016, heavy alternative rock band All Souls are now triumphantly at a point where they’re finally getting to release the follow up to the Self-Titled debut album, with the immensely enjoyable Songs For The End Of The World. It’s quite an apt title considering the state of present-day life which we all find ourselves living through. What with pandemic viruses, rioting on masse, and the general struggle just to get through each day unharmed, what we actually need is an escape, and I strongly believe All Souls are part of the solution. To say that this is the perfect soundtrack for twenty twenty is maybe an overstatement, but it definitely makes living through these challenging times far more enjoyable.
The four piece is formed in the standard vocalist, guitar, bass, and drum formation, and the musicians involved really make the most of displaying their combined heritage. Tony Tornay (Fatso Jetson, Linda Perry, and Josh Homme’s Desert Sessions) assumes drum duties, while Meg Castellanos (Totimoshi) provides the other half of the backline with a superb bass performance. Eric Trammell (Black Elk) does a sterling job on guitar, and Antonio Aguilar (Totimoshi) completes the package with second guitar and a spellbinding job on the vocal.
When I chose to review Songs For The End Of The World upon hearing You Just Can’t Win and Winds, I was instantly drawn to the All Souls sound, it was familiar, but in a warm fuzzy way, more than in a ‘I’ve heard this all before’ kind of a way. Overall, it’s relatively easy to slip All Souls into a little box filled with Queens of the Stone Age style bands, but once you add in to the mix touches of Brand New and even the Stone Temple Pilots, it brings on a different beast all together.
The thing with All Souls is this, you can take the upbeat elements of QOTSA, when they are at their most fun and enjoyable, and mix in the dark brooding undercurrent of Brand New, and the highs and lows work in a perfect balance, and it’s that juxtaposition which All Souls capture beautifully. Songs For The End Of The World is a refreshing listen, it hits all the right spots, it doesn’t go on too long, it isn’t overly stooped in dark meanings, and at the end you’re left satisfied and wanting more.
It’s confident and indulgent, self-assured, and the charisma pours out in droves…
As opening track Sentimental Rehash kicks in, I’m instantly pulled into a comparison to the little-known band Open Hand, or even the Foo Fighters at their most aggressive. For me, I see it as an alt rock tinged affair, it’s full of energy, and the pulsing pounding drums take it to a level above being comparable to already established bands of that ilk. All Souls definitely have an ‘American’ sound to them, it’s that whole Taking Back Sunday vibe, and it’s a sound which is so definitively ‘American’ in every fibre of it’s being. It’s confident and indulgent, self-assured, and the charisma pours out in droves.
Wind is a particular favourite of mine, and at just over seven minutes long it’s the longest track on the album. It definitely plays like more of an epic piece, and right from the Phil Lynott vocal delivery at the beginning, it sets itself apart from the rest of the album, solely on its grandeur. It still sounds like All Souls, just a little darker.
The one track that I do notice for its difference in style is Empires Fail, which, in comparison with the rest of the album, is far more jazzy. It’s reminiscent of both I Wanna Make It Wit Chu by QOTSA, and The Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, it’s as if someone took both tracks and spliced them together, its an oddity on the album, but not an unwelcome one by any means.
Songs For The End Of The World is the sound of a band who know exactly where they are aiming for, and achieve it with style and swagger. It’s a confident album, and All Souls are definitely on the verge of something monumental. It will definitely be worth watching where the band go from here, this album will quite rightly pull in a wider crowd, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if success is waiting just round the corner for them.
Having already having toured with the likes of Tool, The Jesus Lizard, Melvin’s, and Meat Puppets, I can see them emerging from the shadows once Songs For… hits the stores, and touring as headliners, more than in a support capacity. Greatness awaits for All Souls.
Scribed by: Lee Beamish