Where once was The Loaded Dice now is Soul Saboteur as a vehicle for the exceptional song-writing talents of James Stone.
The band was formed in November 2012 by singer and songwriter Stone (Vocals, Rhythm Guitar, Keybooards), who is joined by Alex Danson (Lead Guitar), Dave Beresford (Bass) , and Jason Griffiths (Drums).
Their debut EP “Clip Your Wings” was recorded at West Orange Studio in Preston, Lancashire, in February 2013. It was engineered, mixed and mastered by Alan Gregson of Cornershop.
The EP will be released in March, and will be available from the usual digital outlets. Physical CDs will be on sale at shows.
The band’s first video will accompany the EP release. Gigs are in the calendar through to August 2013 (see below), and I am advised by those in the know, that this new blues-orientated band are already attracting great comments across the scene.
This is a significant shift for Stone with a move towards a more blues/soul sound – what has never been in doubt in my mind, from his work with Loaded Dice, is his ability to craft strong tunes and he appears to have honed his song-writing abilities considerably on this release, to produce a quartet of memorable songs, with strong lyrical content. Lyrics are by Stone bu all the music is credited to the four band members which indicates, and results in, a productive working partnership
There is a lot of very good melody here, slick arrangements and a punchy rhythm section, with some impressive singing from Stone. The title track is instantly memorable with it’s catchy hook and some serious vocal acrobatics. The “field holler” blues of “Medicinal Venom” (see below) is emotionally charged, I wasn’t sure about the Gilmour/Page like guitar acrobatics at the beginning and in the middle of the song but for all that an excellent tune with some great chord changes which veer towards a psychedelic sound in places.
“Dark After Dark” starts in a reflective acoustic mood and has some pretty acerbic lyrics – I liked the piano part on the song as it broadens the sound of the band out – and there is again a strong structure with a fantastic chord change at the coda.
“Stranded (In the Devils Council)” has one of those false starts that makes you think you are going to get a standard rock song but then moves quickly into a funky blues – in my mind, along with the title track, the strongest song on the EP as it focuses on Stone’s vocal and doesn’t overcomplicate the arrangement. Another vocal tour de force which reminded me of Daryl Hall at his best – blue eyed soul with a celebratory feel.
For those of you that do not know Manchester the picture on the sleeve is of the Beetham Tower on Deansgate in the city centre – a bit of a landmark!
I highly recommend this EP to you and I think they should be well worth catching live given the content. I shall feature tracks in a future podcast.
Website : http://www.soulsaboteur.com/
23 Feb, Ducie Bridge, Manchester.
15 Mar, Lomax, Liverpool.
16 Mar, Castle Hotel (YourMusic Manc Acoustic), Manchester.
25 Apr, Bakers Vaults, Stockport.
18 May, Ducie Bridge, Manchester.
25 May, Mayfest, Tywyn, Wales.
13 Jun, The Bobbin, Lancaster.
13 Jul, Kings Arms (Greater Manchester Fringe), Salford.
10 Aug, Kings Arms (Talk of the Town), Salford.