Stephen Soul
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Stephen Soul

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"Review of Stephen Soul's"

This is Mark from NewMusicSoundForum with a review of the album "Rise Above" from Philadelphia based recording artist Stephen Soul. I had originally seen Stephen last year with his band Ocean of Soul. This is his solo debut and it exceeds my expectations.


The first instinct is to categorize an artist, compare them, put them into a specific genre, say who their voice sounds like, but Stephen Soul escapes this. On his profile page he mentions a couple of dozen artists as influences and any or all of them come up slightly in his sound but none of them close enough to compare him to.
Stephen Soul brings to the table an intriguing blend of the new and the familiar. He combines sounds from various genres and time periods into something that is genuinely unique.


The album starts off with "Found Man", the story of which tells of the writers block that Stephen experienced after the death of his parents and who he is after he got out of it. It's grinding guitars on top of ethereal lyrics and vocals.


The song "City of Lights" is instantly catchy taking you on a dreamlike romp through the sky and above the city of Paris. You feel the passion and can visualize the experience he has felt.


"Caged Bird" is beautifully hypnotic. The chorus spawned the CD's title. "Time to step out of the dirt, rise above the hurt". It's the story of people who think they have it bad when there are so many others that have it much worse.


The song "106" is a heartfelt outcry against guns and violence. It's an homage to the 106th homicide victim in Philadelphia in 2007.


The middle songs "Sugartown" and "Poet's Fire" are two harder rockers transitioning into the environmental anthem "Garden of Mud".


The ingenious romp about cold war and arms race of the 80's titled "Party's Over" follows. It is musically toe tapping but carries a serious message. "Run, run, run, run, our feet don't touch the ground, run, run, run, run, from the heat of the mushroom cloud".


"Live My Life" and "Time (Won't You Stay)" round out this gem with a tribute to life and enjoying what we have.


This is a must hear artist. Stephen Soul is both musically and vocally, unique and powerful. He has soul and lots of heart. Don't miss this guy. You can check him out and hear "Rise Above"
- Mark Fenton NewMusicSound Forum


Discography

"Rise Above" LP released 2008
"Out of the Dirt" EP released 2009
"Wingless not Hopeless" release January 2010

All tracks streaming on www.lastFM.com/music/stephen+soul
10 tracks streaming at www.myspace.com/stephensoul

The single "City of Lights" was a finalist in the NYCEJAMS 2008 contest, finishing in the top 8 of over 32,000 entries.

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Bio

As a singer/songwriter and musician, Stephen combines electronica with an alternative rock band attitude to create a sound that is fresh and intriguing. The focus is on melody and lyrics, while blending electronic and acoustic instruments with subtle power, strong percussion and some ear-bending distortion. He combines sounds of David Bowie and Roxy Music with Keane and The Killers to create a fresh, intriguing sound. Stephen Soul began in the early 90's in Philadelphia fronting his bands “Civil Beast” and “Ocean of Soul”. After a ten year hiatus, imposed by personal tragedy and grief induced, writers block , Stephen returned with his band “Ocean of Soul” to play a string of successful shows in November and December of 2007. The inspiration from these shows inspired his independently produced debut entitled “ Rise Above”. The title comes from the line in his song “ Caged Bird”, “Time to step out of the dirt, rise above the hurt”. The songs are both anthemic and metaphysical, searching for truth in life. "Rise Above" was followed up with "Out of the Dirt". An EP containing five alternate mixes and acoustic versions of songs from "Rise Above" as well as the new song "Get On". Stephen has just released "Wingless not Hopeless" a 12 song Album influenced by the mythical story of Icarus, brought into modern times. Stephen has played live shows consistently in 2007, 2008 and 2009 throughout the Philadelphia area as well as New York City. Stephen’s live shows has been described as both powerful and intimate with a sound that is completely his own.