Jeremy Poland & Lantz Dale – Timeless Soul
Jeremy Poland & Lantz Dale has depth and style alike to burn. Their debut release as duo, Timeless Soul, is Poland’s follow-up to his well received first album Southbound Heart. The pop rock leanings of that collection get a twist into acoustic sounds on this seven track release, but they are inhabited by the same fierce, life-affirming spirit enlivening his first release. Timeless Soul doesn’t strain for its effects; Poland and Dale’s talents weave seamlessly into each other without fail on this release and, in some respects, it fully fleshes out the promise heard on his first release while taking it in a distinctly different sonic direction. The music and lyrics combine for some great hooks and there’s melody a plenty on Timeless Soul, but there’s also plenty of substance in these words that Poland and Dale make the most of.
It’s clear from the first that Poland and Dale are, for the most part, working with many of the same strengths that set Southbound Heart apart from its contemporaries. Few songwriters today bring together solid singer/songwriter qualities together with infectious pop structures like Jeremy Poland and Lantz Dale’s direct musical contributions only further enhances the results. “All Yours Now” is a near flawless, immensely likable pop rock confection with a chorus that sticks in your brain and some particularly apt guitar work. “In the Light” has a little more nuance than the opener and utilizes more complex musical dynamics to give it a distinctive character. There’s some nice, understated percussion touches through the course of the song and the vocal harmonies in its second half are the unquestionable musical highlight of the piece. “All Over You” has a near ska-like swing and has a fleet footed touch that holds a listener’s attention without ever sounding like a pale, facile imitation. There’s naturalness to this track extending to every selection on Timeless Soul.
You might think “I’m a Wreck” is a novelty or comedic song of some sort going by title alone. It isn’t. The lyrics put the narrator’s predicament in the worst possible light and it’s only the musical backing that prevents this from sinking into utter despair. You can’t accuse the songwriting, however, of slogging self-pity with pretty bow – the language is far too uncompromising for that and doesn’t duck responsibility for how it feels. The chorus is one of the strongest on the release, but in a different way from similar examples on Timeless Soul. It succeeds on the merits of impeccable chorus harmonies rather than catchiness alone. “Sunday Afternoon” rolls along with spartan delicacy for most of its duration before livening up a little in the song’s second part and both the mood and lyric alike set up the final song perfectly. “Timeless Soul”, the album’s title song, doesn’t rely on an ear-catching chorus to set itself apart from the pack. Instead, it’s an ideal distillation of all the preceding musical ideas into one cohesive whole and fits the bill for making some sort of quasi-definitive statement in song. The release is one of the year’s real sleeper achievements so far; Jeremy Poland and Lantz Dale are sure to gain a lot of positive coverage from Timeless Soul and it’s all well deserved.
9 out of 10 stars