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Stephen Jacques

Soul Hydraulics

Review by Gary Hill

When I reviewed a previous album from Stephen Jacques I said that I had a problem with the vocals on many of the songs. That remains the issue here. The punky, indie nature of those vocals doesn't seem to fit on a lot of music here. Still, there are some songs that stand tall, and everything here has some redeeming quality,

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2021  Volume 6. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2021.

Track by Track Review
Come to me Marie
Roots music, classic rock and more merge here. The vocals don't work for me, with their DIY nature, but the tune has its charms.
Left L.A.
The vocals work a little better here. This is a punkier groove, but also pretty similar to the last number.
James River Swim
I dig this tune more. It's dramatic with a cool folk rock vibe. I'm not completely sold on the vocals here, but they work better.
Yellow Flowers
I dig the rocking vibe on this. The vocals work better here. This cut has a real folk structure, feeling a bit like electric Dylan.
Jet Fighter Man
Up-tempo, driving and classy, the keyboards add a lot of magic to this. I'd consider this a highlight of the set. The vocals work better on this rawer tune.
Golden Gate Crown
There aren't a lot of vocals on this cut. The song has a dramatic, cinematic rock sort of vibe to it. This is another standout tune. I really dig the dreamy textures late.
Saucy Siobhan
More of a folk rock tune that leans on the singer-songwriter end of the spectrum, this is a good song.
Tidal Wave of Goodbyes
More of a balladic tune, I dig the keyboards on this. The punky sneer to the vocals seems to run counter to the tone of the piece. 
Toll Booth Lady
I dig this more rocking song. It's a fun number that is one of the more effective pieces here.
Offshore Oil Days
I like the guitar fills on this cut a lot. It's another strong piece. The little reprise at the end is tasty, too.
Soul Hydraulics
This doesn't work as well as some of the rest for me. That said, I do love the almost symphonic arrangement later.
Speed Lightning
A fast rocker, this is fun stuff. It's also one of the highlights here. It makes for a great closing shot.
 
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