Blue Soul Ten – The Unspoken Warrior
Opening with its title track, The Unspoken Warrior immediately sets itself out as a chilled out album.
Drawing on elements of soul, lounge, and trip hop, ‘The Unspoken Warrior’ makes use of world music drum tones and a rich synth was that gives a foundation for the distant and languid lead guitar parts. ‘Drive’s vinyl crackles and unassuming beats maintain the laid back feel, with glossy flourishes amongst the rhodes piano that feels slightly burnt at the edges. As the vocals come and go, it’s a track that offers a wide range of elements so as to be a kind of all you can eat trip hop buffet. ‘About You’ continues to employ the rhodes notes, which begin to feel like a familiar companion that walks beside the listener as they journey through the album. The music shifts and swirls, all the while moving along, never stopping to become stale in any way. There are some more curious and experimental moments to be found, such as on the introduction of ‘Music Box’, with its alien sounding robotic voice that acts like a celestial jukebox offering up the next piece of music. There is a cute moment where the voice resurfaced to announce “Three minutes left”, when, indeed, that is the amount of time remaining on the track’s runtime. ‘All I See’ brings in a stronger rhythm, its beats hitting harder than they have on the album up until this point, and yet they mingle with the laid back lounge tones that create the feeling of being in a cocktail bar on the beach, relaxing and enjoying the opportunity to allow all the troubles of the day to be washed away by the music. ‘Imperfect’ comes and goes without making much of a mark, which is strange when it has some of the most significant vocal parts to be found on The Unspoken Warrior. It’s a track that looks back very much to the chillout music of the early 2000s – Goldfrapp’s first releases and Zero 7’s calmest moments. Once we arrive at ‘Between The Lines’ it starts to look like Blue Soul Ten have run out of steam – it’s a nondescript beat with a synth throb that hovers underneath distant, drawn out brass notes, and wanders dangerously close to becoming muzak. It comes as a relief, then, to find that ‘Let It Go’ is not a cover of that Disney song. Rather, it’s a gentle blend of piano and saxophone that leads us back to some of the stronger moments on the album before then moving on to ‘Suite Rain’, a melancholic and smoky piece of instrumentation. It’s hard to say exactly why some moments on the album work so well while others simply fall short. The vocals often help out at key moments, and the best parts on the record are when it really feels like a story is being told or we are being encouraged to form a picture in our heads. The album’s closing track ‘Blue Theme’ does exactly the right job in tying everything together once we arrive at the end. Sure, it’s easy listening, but don’t hold that against it. Let it speak for itself.