Soulacious might want to think of changing their name to something more fitting. Something like, oh, I don’t know, maybe Hellified. Wouldn’t be no brag, just fact. That’s how seriously these musicians bring exquisitely irresistible, downright nasty cheese. Soulacious throw down sweet as fine wine, so funky somebody need to open a window. Go buy their album Strange Love and see for yourself.
Superb vocalists Jarrod Anderson and Kandii Matthews head things up, singing their behinds off. Anderson also lays down some very effective rap. That ultimate must-have, a locked-down pocket, is in good hands with drummer Ryan Scribner and bassman Dan Knoflicek.
“Sitting On Top of the World” makes a perfect signature song for this band, with Anderson and Matthews working beautifully off one another in a Chaka-Khan-type groove that knocks down walls. The title cut burns, too, happily chugging along, generating hip-thrusting, get-up-and-move-your-feet energy. Anderson and Matthews constitute a one-two combination you can’t beat with a stick.
Anderson—who has a solo album, Every Part of Me—basically is a ringer’s ringer with a bangin’ resume and cast iron chops to back it up. Among his credits: co-executive producer for the compilation Uniting For You, featuring Bruce Henry, Debbie Duncan and Billy Steele. Anybody who can so much as walk into a studio with those three must have his program in order. To boot, wrote the theme song for television’s Million Dollar Idea.
If you’re wondering, yes, this is the Kandii Matthews. The same one who was in the gospel ensemble Back to You with Duncan Gwen Matthews and Dennis Spears. The same powerhouse who lit up the One World’s Straight from the Sun CD, co-fronting with Stanley Kipper and nailing a cover of Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me” that flat-out kills. The same lady you hear firing up “Bring Me Down” with Kipper on the New Primitives debut New Primitives. Yes, this is she; her work here continues a streak of excellent outings.
Dan Knoflicek graduated McNally Smith College of Music. Ezra Sauter is pretty much a self-taught monster. Ryan Scribner played in Tracey’s Alibi, getting written up in Rochester Magazine and opening for the likes of Otis Day Grand Funk Railroad’s Mark Farner. He’s also been on MTV’s Real World: Denver.
No wonder Soulacious has its sugar, honey and iced tea together.
Their December 6 release show for Strange Love is at Jitters Martini Bar, 205 E. Hennepin Ave., not far from the Hennepin Avenue Bridge. Bet good money it is going to rock that joint to the foundation. Showtime: 9 p.m. If you need any more information, you weren’t paying attention in the first place.
Dwight Hobbes is a writer based in the Twin Cities. He contributes regularly to the TC Daily Planet.