Friday, March 3, 2017

Jeremy Poland & Lantz Dale - Timeless Soul

Jeremy Poland & Lantz Dale - Timeless Soul 

Timeless Soul, the first studio release from the duo of Jeremy Poland and Lantz Dale, is the natural culmination of a 2016 touring schedule that saw these two superb young musicians logging in excess of a hundred live performances. These performances gave them a chance to expand on the dialogue they’d first established when working together on Jeremy Poland’s first album Southbound Heart. They forgo the electric guitars on this seven song release in favor of acoustic, but the songwriting still surges with a vital rock and roll spirit while retaining many of the pop leanings associated with the career trajectories of both musicians, but Poland in particular. The band uses a drummer and some other surprising instrumentation to help realize the potential of some songs, but this is largely an artistic enterprise shepherded and brought to completion by Poland and Dale’s talents alone. It makes for one of the year’s most satisfying new releases.  

Its ability to connect with its intended audience is obvious from the first. “All Yours Now” doesn’t come romping over the listener, but it’s enthusiasm is pretty infectious by the time it hits its chorus and the bright bounce never relents in those moments. They’ve found quite a lovely way of presenting the acoustic guitar work on this album without ever neutering the spirit they want the music to have. The exuberant energy level gets dialed back some with the second track “In The Light”. The percussion touches on this performance are unobtrusively artful, never calling too much attention to themselves, and echo in listener’s consciousness as the song moves  towards its inevitable conclusion. The seamless blend of Poland and Dale’s talents are illustrated throughout the entirety of Timeless Soul and it’s through studying the contrasting characteristics of its tracks that the full artistry of their teaming is revealed. Few songs show it off more clearly than “I’m A Wreck”. This is a startling blunt confessional type of tune that none of its predecessors prepare listeners for and, sensing this perhaps, the lyrics are wrapped inside a soft, warm musical landscape that comforts the listener rather than doubling down on the lyrical despair.  

“Where Did It Go?” has much more overt rock and roll spirit than the release’s opener, but the chorus remains tethered to a strong pop influence without ever sound slick or cheap. “Sunday Afternoon”, in some ways, is reminiscent of “In the Light” during its pensive opening, but Poland and Dale quickly pick up the song’s intensity in just the right amount and turn it into one of the breezier musical tracks on this album. The title song closes things up with a resounding personal statement that, nevertheless, has the good sense to never overreach either musically or lyrically. This is one of the more impressive efforts we are likely to hear in the indie scene this year and clearly merits wider attention. Both Jeremy Poland and Lantz Dale are memorably talented writers and performers who have that rare simpatico relationship where their individual talents, brought together, make an even greater whole.  

9 out of 10 stars 

Dale Butcher

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