Toronto nine-piece soul funk band the Soul Motivators specialize in a throwback 70s sound with occasional nods to psychedelia, and have a reputation for high-energy shows and packed dance floors. It’s not the most adventurous style, but it’s an effective one. And they avoid the common trap of trying too hard to sound retro, adding plenty of pumping horns, funky wah-wah guitar, swinging break beats and sizzling synth solos.
There’s a restrained quality to many of the tracks, even on the more uptempo cuts. When they slow down from fast funk to R&B numbers, the missing edge comes out in Lydia Persaud’s vocals, and the band settles into tighter, heavier grooves. The busier funk tracks might work well in a live context, but on record their impact is dulled by the density of the arrangements. Nevertheless, the classic warmth and sensuality that this music demands is on display, and the band wisely dodges some of the cheesier aspects of funky music.
Top track: Throw The Bones
Win tickets to see The Soul Motivators on February 20th at Horseshoe Tavern here.