Review : Soulsavers - The Light The Dead See
NMEThe idea came about when Soulsavers were hand-selected to support Depeche Mode on their 2009 tour – a dressing room “We should really…” chat that became reality. Dave Gahan (who provides all vocals here) and mainman Rich Machin have spoken about how much they have re-energised each other, and it shows.
Initially it’s strange to hear that instantly identifiable baritone clashing with organic, rough-edged guitars, dirty Hammond organ, and delicate strings rather than the cold electronics of the day job, but it soon reveals itself to be a perfect pairing. ‘I Can’t Stay’, in particular, is absolutely beautiful. ...full text
GuardianDave Gahan was a deep personal well of darkness: six minutes spent clinically dead following an overdose in 1996; a cancerous tumour in 2009. He draws on it extensively here. British duo Soulsavers have form in this area – their last collaboration was with the similarly troubled Mark Lanegan – and they have coaxed the Depeche Mode singer into a stream of sincere, superbly sung confessionals. As he bleakly puts it at one point: "There's no confusion, only black. No questions to ask, like 'Am I coming back?'" The turbulent Take's "There's a price that you pay for these games that you play with the Devil" is another killer line. The songs themselves are widescreen epics somewhere between Johnny Cash's American Recordings, U2 circa One and Ennio Morricone's spaghetti-western soundtracks, variably adding acoustic guitar, strings, organ, horns and female backing vocals. ...full text
Blog CriticsEver since their 2003 debut, Tough Guys Don’t Dance, Soulsavers have pursued a singular vision. The duo of Rich Martin and Ian Glover have been on a “quest” of sorts. Not in the sense of trying to find their muse, or even in a spiritual sense. Call it a quest, or a journey if you like, but to this listener, it seems the trip itself is the point, not the destination. In many ways, their fourth and latest recording The Light The Dead See is in some respects a dispatch from their travels thus far.
Whether by coincidence or design, the 12 tracks that make up The Light The Dead See continue the Soulsavers “story” in a most appropriate way. The opening instrumental “La Ribera” sets the tone nicely. While steering away from being pretentious, it nonetheless introduces what follows with a serious, yet quite darkly beautiful motif. The approach perfectly mirrors the tenor of The Light The Dead See.
Unpretentious is indeed the watchword here, as this project could have very easily slipped into that dreaded black hole. Ambition sometimes outstrips talent, and is often disguised by the appearance of “depth.” Fortunately, Soulsavers are much smarter than that. There are serious, and at times emotionally difficult thoughts being expressed here. With the vocals of Dave Gahan, Soulsavers manage to articulate these sentiments, without ever coming across as sophomoric....full text
Sputnik Music“I can feel the presence of God occupying my intentions/In my soul, within my thoughts, and in ways too dreary to mention/These thoughts torment me; they mould and shape me/There's a man that I should be!” Deep stuff, right? Such are the kind of lyrics to be found all throughout The Light The Dead See. To their credit, the British duo known as Soulsavers have crafted a profoundly deep (but not suffocatingly so) album here thanks to the enlistment of lead vocalist/lyricist Dave Gahan of Depeche Mode. The aforementioned lyrics might seem like a facile grab at poetic authenticity, but what Gahan’s done here is present us with short confessionals dabbling in personal woes of morality, faith, regret, etc. Having been pronounced clinically deceased for 6 minutes in the late ‘90s and surviving a malignant bowel tumour just 3 years ago, it’s safe to say that Gahan has come close to - and, well, technically experienced - death, and his trauma is written all over The Light The Dead See. His contemplative and bleak lyrics are foregrounded as the journey unfolds, and his vocal work is just as good as it was back in the heydey of Depeche Mode. ...full text
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