Review Summary: Progressive/Psychedelic Blues Rock with Jazz and Stoner influences.1 of 1 thought this review was well written
Sometimes, as hard as one may try, you can’t deny the influence that one thing may have on a person. For me, Soup is a group that I have constantly tried to get away from and block out, but over the years I’ve come to admit their admirable abilities, and ultimately, their influence on my musical life. Soup are a Psychedelic/Progressive Rock group from Wisconsin with some interesting blues influences in parts of their sound, shown in their heavier works and most obviously in their covers of famous blues songs (anyone remember “Mailman Bring Me No More Blues”?). Soup
is their first and last album, and seeing how they broke up right after this, it is an astounding disappointment to see that they didn’t make anything more, as Soup
is a wonderful work of emotions, technicality, and experimentation, making an effort that was simply ahead of its time.
There is enough time to rave about this record in my room through masturbation, but at this moment, the music is in dire need of reviewing, and description is key at this point. The album starts out with a cover of Buddy Holly’s “Mailman Bring Me No More Blues”, and while it at first sounds a little awkward, unnatural in places, it does its job well; to show of guitarist Doug Yankus’s skill. His guitar playing in the song is perfect, fly and flashy in the verses, while rough and raw sounding at the end of each line. The other blues cover isn’t quite as successful though, as “Big Boss Man” suffers from rather whiny vocals from bass player Dave Faas, but is saved by, once again, Doug Yankus’s guitar playing. His playing in “Big Boss Man” shines in the solo, where the man’s creativity gets the best of him, playing a sort of ‘trying to get to bubble gum out of my hair’ sort of solo. Not in the way where you’re screaming, but in the way that when you pull, it snaps back, and then when you finally get it out you’re just as happy as hell it happened, not caring about what the consequences are.
And thus ends the paragraph about the albums worst two songs. It isn’t no joke, Soup
is an amazing recording, but the record truly shines when Doug Yankus truly tries to show off his guitar and songwriting creativity, thus making “Dance Magic Woman” by far the best song on the album. The first verse contains the regular stoner sound that defined the 70s, while the chorus has something we’d call “stoner/gang vocals”, with the drums contributing to the bombarding chorus. But wait, it just gets better. After the second chorus, the song branches out into an unexpected jazz guitar solo, and this is what truly brings the song to the light as one of the best songs period. Another huge spurt of creativity on Soup
comes in the form of nearly 16 minute live track “So Sorry”. Starting out sounding like pretty much every other song on the album, with blazing blues-like guitar work, the song then loses control within the first few minutes, becoming a frenzied and incredibly raw Progressive Blues anthem, building up upon layers and layers of guitar distortion, with so many complex solos that it will make your head spin. “So Sorry” remains epic throughout a full 15 minutes, leaving you with enough awe to last the last 42 seconds of the song just amazed in the musical orgasm that you have just heard.
Alas, Doug Yankus has enough creativity in his hat to last us an entire album of ten tracks. “I’m Just Not The Man Tied” allows bassist David Faas to shine before his mediocre vocal performance on “Big Boss Man”, providing with an interesting pentatonic bass line in the chorus that would sound fit on any jazz record, while Doug Yankus performs this song much like a mixture of his blues covers and what would have been the jazz covers on this record. “Black Cats Blues in Melody” takes the role of being among the heavier songs on the record, with a rockin’ verse and an upbeat bass rhythm. “Black Cats…” also works because of its alternative structure: it starts out with a verse, then a chorus, but afterwards, instead of another verse, we get a solo, and then we have another verse and chorus, but instead of just ending the thing, we get a bridge, then we have a verse and the song ends on a high note. “Tennessee” takes part on the Soup ship as easily the softest song, but works because of its multiple build-ups from the first and second verse, but is much more prominent in the choruses. “Tennessee” has a depressing atmosphere, and the lyrics reflect that as well. The song deals with the difficulty of breaking up with someone to search for something of meaning, or finding your dreams.
And with this record, I had found my dream record. Everything about Soup appeals to me, the bass lines, the mixtures, the build-ups, the experimentation. In fact, the only true negative with the album is that it is just plain hard to find. If you go to or live in Milwaukee, like my dad used to when he got the record, then maybe you’ll be able to find it, but most likely you will never get your hands on this album. While that makes me sad somewhat, it also makes me happy that I am among the few to be able to listen to such an awesome and amazing recording, so full of life, talent, and everything that makes music great. So in conclusion, Soup make what is among the best records ever, only hindered in the slightest by some only ‘great’ blues covers. Personally this is a classic, but in the eyes of the ‘objective’ crowd, it really isn’t.