Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Jon Ashley at Echo Mountain, Asheville, North Carolina
Good soul music is deceptive at its heart. It's meant to convey two opposing feelings. One is that feeling that comes with finding something sweet in the neighborhood of love and the other comes from the pain that it often leaves throbbing once it's rolled through and ransacked the place. Good soul music is meant to bridge that gap between the luckless and the lucky, or the place where they are going to converge and then pull apart. It's that place where there are toes in both waters and the head's still spinning, sucking down the last of the good nectar and pulling in some of the bitter particles that had been resting quietly at the bottom of the bottle. It's a little like gulping down a beer that's been delicious, finding your way to the final swallow and having that warm, dead taste of the last swig cloud how great the rest of the bottle was. It was the same beer, but it had changed.
For Ruby Velle & The Soulphonics, there's something to this breaking down of love and its temperatures that paints a picture of what it all looks like even before anything happens. There's something close to desperation, but it's given as an apprehensive burst of, "Oh, what do I care? Men are nothing but little boys most of the time. I don't need that." But, as the days go by - just as they would for a hungry man or woman - hallucinations can turn the dogs walking by into visions of prime rib. It's a vicious turn, but the head gets lowered and love gets swarmed and captured by the tail. What happens next is where these songs get their bite and their smoky, midnight flare.