Jealous Haters Since 1998!
Home | News | Reviews | Day In Rock | RockNewsWire | Singled Out | Tour Dates/Tix | Feeds
Soraia - Shed the Skin Review

by Anthony Kuzminski

.
In the iconic 1976 Oscar winner for Best Picture, Rocky, the lead character prevails in the face of adversity and simultaneously becomes an icon for the eternal underdog. Rocky Balboa faced impossible odds proving it's never too late in one's life to take charge and defy the naysayers. Ironically, there's a band from the city of Brotherly Love who is reminiscent of the fictional hometown hero; Soraia, a five piece rock band who has risen like a phoenix from personal calamities only to turn their tragedy into triumph. We live in a day and age of exhaustive overexposure of music where the end product often does not live up to the hype. In the MySpace generation it's hard to find artists who make thematically connected albums that speak volumes. An illustrious album has a collection of songs that provides you with an engaged experience between the artist and your psyche. This rarely happens anymore. However, just recently, I was sent an album that proved to be not just invigorating but whose songs collectively were unyielding, gut wrenching and gloriously elegiac. Soraia's Shed the Skin delivers a broad stream of influences which cajole an earnest reaction that leaves you yearning for more after just one listen.

There are dozens of acts today who create divinely delicious melodies but what makes Soraia stand out from the rest is lead singer Sue Mansour. Mansour was a school teacher whose true passion was music and through her unbridled passion and perseverance, convinced Bon Jovi engineer Obie O'Brien to helm their debut album, Shed the Skin. Obie has made a career of making sure Bon Jovi concerts, albums and demos are as seductive as they are sincere. O'Brien took the no-nonsense approach to Soraia where the end result is nine all-killer no-filler transporting blissful meditations filled with golden harmonies, funkadelic riffs and spiritual soul bearing lyrics.

As Mansour belts out the title track, her voice crows with an immediate and defiant pulse which is nothing short of pulverizing. Her vocal styling's are a throwback to the past but what's integral is that she is well aware of the rich tradition of singers who have come before her as she reaches back further than just one decade but five decades to the inner workings of Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin and Wilson Pickett before recording her dynamic, soulful and mesmerizing vocals. The sexual aura is prevalent as the lyrics effortlessly slip off her tongue on the song "Long Time", a divinely palatable executed sexual plea. If you were to close your eyes while listening to this song, you'd be taken back to the time of Cream, Jefferson Starship and Janis Joplin where the image didn't evoke sexuality but a voice on vinyl could. There's the wistful cover of Dolly Parton's "Jolene", heavily influenced by the White Stripes' version on their Live Under Blackpool Lights DVD further signifying the Soraia's unique and diverse styles. It is more of a sophisticated homage to both the Stripes and Parton versions with Mansour's vocals conveying an unexpected searing intensity.

Mansour sought out long-time Bon Jovi engineer Obie O'Brien who offered the advice to not quit her day job, but she persisted in enticing him with enough vigor and passion that he eventually agreed to help produce Soraia. What he thought would be a one-time favor proved to be a labor of love and the grandiose sonic virtuosity shines through. O'Brien even has Richie Sambora, Lorenza Ponce, Bobby Bandiera, John Shanks and Jeff Kazee all make appearances on the album. Besides guiding Mansour, O'Brien ensures that Soraia's other members (guitarist Dave Justo, bassist Travis Smith, drummer Joe Armstrong and rhythm guitarist Joe Diablo) leave their distinctive imprint on the record coloring in the corners and birthing these songs to life. It's unlikely you'll hear any album in the next year whose rock and soul architecture sounds this fresh. It's no nonsense approach to recording is a refreshing jolt to the system where many indie bands underwhelm and multiplatinum artists overcompensate. The ocular nature of the recording is spot on, bridging a musical marriage between style and subtleness.

Shed the Skin is a cohesive collection of songs and warrants an in depth listen that is ambitious and affecting without being overly sentimental. Soraia are not hopping on any bandwagons, they merely check vintage classic rock riffs and find a way to swathe them into a package that is intoxicating and enthralling. There is a profound depth to the lyrics which are enhanced by the layered roars of guitars that make you yearn for a time where albums and artists ruled the landscape. The entire album yields a windfall of truthfulness that carefully wields soul-searching lyrics that ring true. "Had Enough", my favorite track on the album, showcases the will to survive with a defiant full-throated vocal performance by Monsour. "Damn Dirty Woman" is stripped and thorny in a clawing, languid, gorgeous and sedate arrangement. The titillating voodoo mysticism of "Little Cat" provides the listener with an unforgettable sensory experience while the sixties flavored mysticism of "Home" finds a love that defies carnal reasoning with accentuation on the mental stimulation. "Long Time" best represents the visceral lyrics of lost bluesmen, which is enhanced by her "soul of the 60s" evoking voice reminiscent of Janis Joplin, Grace Slick and Ann Wilson. Closing the record out is "Need", a distortion-orchestra of convincing thunderous pinpoint precision. However, what makes this record so profound is the raw intensity of the soulful lyrics which put you right in the emotional thick of the action. While it connects American musical traditions, it's sonically and implausibly fresh. Producer Obie O'Brien's instinctive, enlivening and revitalizing production does the material justice and significantly brightens the album to A-grade levels, but always keeping the vibe organic and elegiac. As impressive as the sonic framework may be, the real star is Mansour's cooing vocals paired with the elliptical lyrics which combined make Shed The Skin a harrowing, endearing and essential album.

Anthony Kuzminski is a Chicago based writer whose daily writings can be read at The Screen Door and can be contacted at thescreendoor (AT) gmail (DOT) com.


CD Info and Links

Soraia - Shed the Skin
Rating:

Preview and Purchase This CD Online

Visit the official homepage

More articles for this artist

tell a friend about this review

.


...end




.
News Reports
.
Day in Rock:
Robert Plant May End Career With New Album- Ray Davies Denies Kinks Reunion Report- Def Leppard To Rock NFL Game- Jack White Carries On Tour Despite Injury- more

Day in Pop LMFAO's Redfoo Injured In Bar Attack- Woman Killed By Bus At Burning Man- Katy Perry Helps To House Homeless Veterans- Jay Z and Kanye West Sued- Ferrari Vs. Deadmau5- more

B-Sides: Sammy Hagar Issues Challenge To Van Halen Brothers- Stevie Nicks Reveals New Song 'Lady'- Henry Rollins Shares More Thoughts On Suicide- Lenny Kravitz Teases Video- more

 Subscribe To Day in Rock

.
 
Reviews
.

Kyle Hollingsworth - Speed of Life

Meridian - The Awful Truth

Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson - Thick as a Brick - Live in Iceland

ZZ Top - Live at Montreux 2013

Helstar - This Wicked Nest

Get To Know... 21Octayne

AUG - Be Careful What You Wish For...

Hot In The City: Best Dog Award- Consider Me Dead- Mallevs

Prong - Ruining Lives

On The Record: The Steady As She Goes - Dangerous & Dead

Rob Decoup - Pain

James Brown - Get On Up Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Echo And The Bunnymen Live

Peter Gabriel - Back to Front

Marco Minnemann - Eeps

Lollapalooza 2014: Day Three

Lollapalooza 2014: Day Two


.
.
.

Search for Tickets

Or Browse For Tickets

.
.
Today's Rock News
.

Robert Plant May End Career With New Album (top story)

Ray Davies Denies Kinks Reunion Report (top story)

Def Leppard To Rock NFL Game (top story)

Jack White Carries On Tour Despite Injury (top story)

Avenged Sevenfold Release Unholy Confessions Video (top story)

Billy Idol Sets Release of Kings & Queens Of The Underground Album (top story)

Iron Maiden Reissuing Classic Albums On Vinyl (top story)

Pitch Black Forecast Release New Song Featuring Randy Blythe (top story)

AC/DC In The Studio For Highway To Hell 35th Anniversary (top story)

Bob Dylan and The Band's 138-Track Basement Tapes Complete Coming (top story)

Slash's Band Upped Their Game Because Of Aerosmith Tour (top story)

Classic Genesis Concert Film Getting DVD and Blu-Ray Reissue (top story)

Joe Bonamassa Discusses Making Of New Album (top story)

Coheed And Cambria Frontman Shares Song For New Born Son (top story)

John Lennon's Killer 'Sorry For Being Such An Idiot' (top story)

Martin Scorsese Making Ramones Movie (top story)

Led Zeppelin Preview Unreleased Version of Black Dog (top story)

Subscribe to Day in Rock Report by Email

.
.
Today's Pop News
.

LMFAO's Redfoo Injured In Bar Attack (top story)

Woman Killed By Bus At Burning Man (top story)

Katy Perry Helps To House Homeless Veterans (top story)

Jay Z and Kanye West Sued for Copyright Infringement (top story)

Ferrari Vs. Deadmau5 (top story)

Glen Campbell Documentary Coming To Theaters (top story)

Justin Bieber Appears on Khalil's New Mixtape (top story)

Lil Kim Freestyles Over Iggy Azalea's Fancy (top story)

John Legend and Lee Ann Womack Headed To CMT Crossroads (top story)

The Neighbourhood Recruit Danny Brown For Hate Machine (top story)

Phillip Phillips Launching North American Headline Tour (top story)

Duran Duran To Headline New Car Launch (top story)

.
.
Latest B-Sides News
.

Sammy Hagar Issues Challenge To Van Halen Brothers (top story)

Stevie Nicks Reveals New Song 'Lady' (top story)

Henry Rollins Shares More Thoughts On Suicide (top story)

Lenny Kravitz Teases The Chamber Video (top story)

SIXX:A.M's DJ Ashba Release Guitar Lesson For New Song Stars (top story)

Ghost's Biggest Influences Are ABBA and The Beatles (top story)

Aerosmith's Joe Perry Makes Dallas TV Appearance (top story)

The Beatles Voted America's Favorite Band (top story)

A Look Back At AC/DC's Back in Black (top story)

Paul Di'Anno Says He Hits Notes Rob Halford Can No Longer Hit (top story)

Opeth Feel No Affinity With Metal Bands (top story)

Slash's Live Performance Of World On Fire Goes Online (top story)

Kamelot Release Live Falling Like The Fahrenheit Video (top story)

Counting Crows Release Scarecrow Video From New Album (top story)

Me Vs Hero Challenge Fans For Access To Album Stream (top story)

Jon Allen's New Video Made By Teenaged Film Student (top story)

Abysmal Dawn Stream New Song Inanimate (top story)

Queen Perform Another One Bites The Dust With Lady Gaga (top story)

Johnny Winter's Duet With Billy Gibbons Goes Online (top story)

Dillinger Escape Plan Team Up With Jarren Benton For New Song (top story)

Prong Release Remove, Separate Self Video (top story)

Skeletonwitch Release Creepy Unending, Everliving Video (top story)

Obituary Streaming New Song Visions In My Head (top story)

Jack White, Eddie Vedder, and Paul Simon Epic Pic at Mariners Game (top story)

Robert Plant ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Video Goes Online (top story)

Semisonic Looks Back At Closing Time (top story)

Christopher Whitehall Discusses The Griswolds Quick Rise To Fame (top story)

Prince Releasing Two Albums Next Month (top story)

Why Paul Di'Anno Called Off Retirement (top story)

Rob Halford Reveals The Albums That Changed His Life (top story)

Aerosmith Take Ice Bucket Challenge Onstage (top story)

Papa Roach Releasing Most Positive Record Of Their Career (top story)

The Haunted Release Cutting Teeth Video (top story)

Pendragon Stream New Song Beautiful Soul (top story)

White Hills Release Spirit Of Exile Video (top story)

Butcher Babies Hint At October Release (top story)

MTV VMAs Recap and Winners List (top story)

Henry Rollins Apologizes for Suicide Comments (top story)

Ace Frehley Didn't Want To Do New York Groove (top story)

Obituary Preview New Album (top story)

Queen Release Classic Keep Yourself Alive Live Video (top story)

Motley Crue's Tommy Lee Continues To Learn (top story)

Sanctuary Release New Song Arise And Purify (top story)

Classic Interview With The Who Gets Animated (top story)


More News

.
 
anti Worthy Links
.
AudioNationRadio.com The Screen Door A Journal of Musical Things Lloyd Zeffler blog Demolish Mag Nightwatcher's House of Rock CJ Chilvers Deja Voodoo The 1st Five thecopycat.biz Hard Rock Memorabilia Day in Rock @twitter

.
  .
.

Click Here to Buy T-Shirts!
Click Here to Buy T-Shirts!



 

Tell a Friend about this page - Contact Us - Privacy - antiMusic Email - Why we are antiMusic

Copyright© 1998 - 2014 Iconoclast Entertainment Group All rights reserved. antiMusic works on a free link policy for reprinting of our original articles, click here for details. Please click here for legal restrictions and terms of use applicable to this site. Use of this site signifies your agreement to the terms of use.