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:
Alice Cooper Band Legend Dick Wagner Dead at 71- Alleged Chris Cornell Stalker Arrested- Foo Fighters Complete 'Epic' New Album- Slipknot Announcement On Friday?- more

Day in Pop 17-Year-Old Girl Allegedly Raped At Keith Urban Concert- Justin Bieber Gets Punched By Orlando Bloom?- Morrissey Denies Ordering Assault On Fan Site Owner- Lady Gaga- more

B-Sides: Led Zeppelin Reunion Too Much Pressure Says Robert Plant- T.I. Showing Dead Body On MTV Could Cost Network Millions- Nirvana, Pearl Jam, STP Hits Go 8-Bit- more

 Subscribe To Day in Rock

.
 
Reviews
.

God Macabre - The Winterlong

Powerman 5000 - Builders of the Future

Metallica's 'Ride the Lightning' Turns 30

Annihilator - Feast Box Set

RockPile: California Breed- Pistol Day Parade

Yes - Heaven & Earth

RockPile: Broods- Neomythics

Colt 45 - The Tide Is Turning

Toto - 35th Anniversary Tour Live from Poland

Rob Zombie - The Zombie Horror Picture Show

Rock Reads: Counting Down Bruce Springsteen: His 100 Finest Songs

Michael Franti and Spearhead's Soulshine Tour

Tom Keifer - The Way Life Goes

Live: Fall Out Boy and Paramore Monumentour

Road Trip: Kentucky's Bluegrass Country- Don't Miss These Five Attractions

Cyndi Lauper - She's So Unusual 30th Anniversary Special Edition

Ted Nugent - SHUTUP&JAM!


.
.
.

Search for Tickets

Or Browse For Tickets

.
.
Today's Rock News
.

Alice Cooper Band Legend Dick Wagner Dead at 71

Alleged Chris Cornell Stalker Arrested

Foo Fighters Complete 'Epic' New Album

Lostprophets Would Have Killed Singer Over Child Sex Crimes

Slipknot Announcement On Friday?

Metallica's Ulrich Predicts AC/DC Will Headline Music Festival

Geoff Tate Reveals New Band Details and Album Plans

Machine Head, Children Of Bodom, Epica and Battlecross Tour

As I Lay Dying Offshoot Wovenwar Release New Song

Portnoy, Morse Supergroup Flying Colors Releasing New Album

Ace Frehley Fires Back At Former KISS Bandmates

Former Iron Maiden Singer Previews New Live DVD

Slash Nominates Black Sabbath's Tony Iommi For Birmingham Honor

Jack White Throws Out First Fitch At Detroit Tigers Game

Tom Keifer Says Illegal Downloading Is The Accepted Norm

Spock's Beard Reveal September Tour Dates

Alt-Fest Canceled?

Motley Crue's Tommy Lee Discusses Smashing Pumpkins Contribution

Electric Wizard Release New Song 'I Am Nothing'

Singled Out: Jon Allen's Falling Back


Subscribe to Day in Rock Report by Email

.
.
Today's Pop News
.

17-Year-Old Girl Allegedly Raped At Keith Urban Concert

Justin Bieber Gets Punched By Orlando Bloom?

Morrissey Denies Ordering Assault On Fan Site Owner

Lady Gaga Wedding Rumors Response From Her Parents

Smokey Robinson Releases Mary J. Blige Duet

Garth Brooks Reveals Another Tour Date

Kenny Chesney Producing Documentary On Football Coach Steve Spurrier

Britney Spears Previews Lingerie Line

Iggy Azalea Cast In Fast & Furious 7

Nick Jonas Releases Video, Confirms Demi Lovato Collaboration

Jessie Ware Debuts New Song 'Champagne Kisses'

Lana Del Rey Releases Ultraviolence Video

Brad Paisley Reveals More 'Moonshine in the Trunk' Details

DJ Mustard Enlists 2 Chainz, Ty Dolla Sign for 'Down On Me' Video

Janelle Monae's 'Electric Lady' Video Features T.I. and Estelle

Danielle Bradbery Releases Great Big World Cover

5 Seconds of Summer Announce U.S. Headline Tour

Rick Ross Doesn't Want Customers Packing At Wingstop

More News

.
 
anti Worthy Links
.
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.