Tags: New Music
“I want to come to a place like this every day and stay in peace,” one band member says, water rushing by. Another responds, “Why not…why can’t you machan?”
This is just a brief moment in The Soul’s 2019 film Where We’re From. The video showcases the Sri Lankan band exploring the nature of the island, taking themselves decidedly off the grid. The 42 minute video meanders with the band as they make their way in and out of the jungle, nap like lizards warming in the sun on rocks next to flowing streams, and perform sets, letting the sounds of nature build on and respond to their own energy.
Their newest album, Enry Pete, feels like an attempt to address these questions: Why not let yourself stay in peace? Why can’t it all be as easy as a day spent with friends in the sun? The album journeys through a set of songs that range from ambient and grounding to chaotic and critical to playful and appreciative. Maybe peace is the goal, but sometimes disorder, conflict, intensity and fear bubble up as the reasons why we can’t stay, always, in a place of rest.
The album begins with the title track, “Enry Pete,” which is made up of resonant and ambient sounds, bringing to mind the anticipation of an orchestra tuning their instruments before performing a masterpiece. The song strays in and out, never staying in the same place for long, but centering us in the sonic universe that The Soul has built for us. This is a universe that balances discord and harmony in equal parts.
“Enry Pete” isn’t the only song that makes use of this ambient soundscape. There are interludes sprinkled throughout the album like “Shedding,” which contrasts strings with sounds of the natural world, and “Static,” which gives the feeling of nervous anticipation, like the background to the rising tension of a thriller. Even the more stripped down songs play into this complication of the notion of peace — to The Soul, simplicity doesn’t necessarily mean restfulness.
The Soul goes beyond just experimental instrumentals. The album includes tracks that are forward-looking and steeped in appreciation. “Control Your Soul,” the first time we hear lead singer Dave Roberts’s silky vocals, feels like the theme song for the current moment: an acknowledgement that we’re all just trying to stay sane despite our circumstances. Even “Love Shong,” which ultimately outlines the loss of love, is a recognition of the beauty both in another person and in the natural world.
The Soul’s sound includes influences from reggae and rock, like on tracks “Hold On” and “Male’,” and songs that are melodic and bluesy, like “The Rogue” and “Rise.” They contrast deep introspection about work and purpose in songs like “Hold On” with critical playfulness on songs like “Aiyo.”
Enry Pete as a whole is an album to soundtrack the back-and-forth and ups-and-downs of the current world. Even when there’s grounding, there is chaos. When we need some advice, there’s the reminder to focus on the positive vibes — that we have the power to control our own souls. When we start to take things too seriously, there’s The Soul, laughing together in nature.
Enry Pete is streaming now on Spotify and Apple Music.