If you like your sounds analogue and warm then this is the album for you.
Steeped in the sounds of Motown and country soul with a vocalist in Josh Teskey that completely understands the form and backed by an orchestra that has the horns to deliver that Muscle Shoals sound as well as the strings to deepen the brew this is very much comparable to the first two St Paul and the Broken Bones album in feel. It is remarkable that the Teskey Brothers are four men from Melbourne, Australia but it proves once again the global reach and effect of fine sounds whatever their provenance. The Teskeys have not only embraced the style but given it an authenticity in their recording and the musicality on the evidence here.
Opening with ‘Let Me Let You Down’ there is a real sense of Van Morrison from ‘Too Late To Stop Now’ in the delivery and depth of the sound. Listen hard and you can hear the large (empty) auditorium and the band and orchestra swinging perfectly together. As the album continues it does perhaps become a showcase for singer and orchestra with the band taking a back seat. ‘Rain’ is almost Percy Sledge in ‘Dark End of the Street’ territory.
There is a huge streak of melancholia running through this album, it is most definitely the material but also the strings heighten this tension as the does Teskey’s deep soulful vocals. The Christmas songs could become standards in this form. The album does suffer slightly from being one paced (despite the breakout section of ‘Break My Heart’ and it’s beautiful resolve) but that is probably a constraint of playing with the addition of orchestra but with the aforementioned delightful arrangements and those at the opening of closer ‘Hold Me’ this is easily forgiven. Repeated listens only increase the satisfaction of hearing such a carefully put together and often emotive work. Highly recommended for lovers of classic soul music.