There’s something of a timeless quality to The Life and Soul, the second album by Mamas Gun. It moves along in a bright and breezy way. It’s a fitting follow up to their critically acclaimed 2009 album but on The Life and Soul, there’s also a bit more of a mainstream pop edge. The funk soul quintet aren’t reinventing the wheel here, they appear to be just doing their thing and it’s a great sounding album, almost a perfect summer soundtrack full of great, well crafted songs and a cool vibe.
The album has been co-produced by Grammy Award winning team Martin Terefe and Andreas Olsson who have worked with Train, James Morrison and KT Tunstall and you can hear a clear, polished pop effect which brings out a more commercial radio friendly pop feel.
On a String in a perfect world, should be a hit single, a sweet blues soul feel in the Holland Dozier Holland envelope and the band’s self deprecating video is worth a view on You Tube. Sending You a Message is also another perfectly executed standard. The title track The Life and Soul and Heavy Hands show singer Andy Platts at his best. Only One is a duet co-written with Platts and Beverly Knight and is a great song.
I’m still a bit dubious over the cover of Queen’s Bicycle Race, always a risky tactic, which they just manage to pull off despite copying the original instead of bringing their own skill and musicianship to put a different slant on the song. At this point, an honorable mention should go to the rhythm section; in fact all the band’s playing is terrific.
This a great album, with loads of catchy hooks and with the right handling, some luck could give them the major breakthrough they deserve.
Review by Charlie Brown