DRUNKSOULS is an indie reggae/rock band from Marseille, France and the band released their second disc, Revolution, late last year. The band has gotten some comparisons to Gorillaz (don’t hear it at all) and Manu Chao (never heard his music) but I think a better comparison is to the light, breezy reggae sounds of Michael Franti’s last Spearhead album crossed with hints of The Specials along with some elements of commercially accessible worldbeat thrown in the mix.
DRUNKSOULS formed in 2002 and the band has progressively generating a buzz with over 100,000 downloads of their debut album and a song included in the documentary “I Believe I Can Fly” (the story of Skyliners, a team of French adventurers who specialize in highline tightrope walking, base-jumping, and mountaineering). Footage from this film can be seen in the band’s latest video “Human Race”.
DRUNKSOULS’ music doesn’t stray much beyond a mid-tempo “bounce” but it touches on a number of styles across the different tracks. “Drifter Song” is classic 80’s dance-funk and the band follows this by adding horns and stop/start rhythms to the next track, “Human Race”, where DRUNKSOULS sounds somewhat like The Beat or The Specials. “Lust” has a slow R&B pulse and “The End” is almost cabaret in its construction. As a fan of 80’s alt-rock, the band hits its groove with “Supermarket”, which has the pace and intensity of the classic British two-tone bands and “Revolution” which sounds like something Peter Gabriel would have written. “Sullivan Story” could have been a winner as well if the band had picked up the tempos a bit more.
The band’s lyrics touch on both the personal and the political with themes of war, sex, apathy and revolution (and almost all of the songs are sung in English) and often build to a sing-a-long chorus. Djamil Ramdane styles his vocals to almost become another instrument and his varied vocal delivery ranges from smooth R&B to rap.
This is the sort of disc that you would listen to while hanging outside where the drinks are flowing and “sink” into the disc’s smooth pop, pulsing bass lines and slow burning Jamaican ska beats. There is also enough substance to the music, the interesting atypical instrumentation and lyrics so that different elements reveal themselves upon repeat listens.