Nicolai Dunger

Soul Rush

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    9
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AllMusic Review by

At its release, Soul Rush was widely compared to Van Morrison's Astral Weeks, both for the sound and for the idea of using a jazz band, in this case Esbjörn Svenssons Trio, for playing rock. And just like in the case of Astral Weeks, the result is brilliant. The orchestra manages to create an incredibly organic sound, and even if some tracks include strings, horns, and piano, they all sound simple and easy, in a strictly positive sense. This sound builds up to the ecstasy that is the chief mode of the album, sneaking into even the sad songs, becoming almost triumphant on the title track. There are more similarities to Morrison as well, like the bending of vocals on "Dr Zhivago's Train" -- not to mention the repeated use of the phrase "just like a train" in the same song -- and the soulful drive of "Something New." But in spite of these, Dunger mixes genres in such a skilful way that the album should not be restricted to comparisons with one single album or artist. The main connection to Morrison is simply that parts of this album are blue-eyed soul with a big portion of country. In fact, it does not even sound like anything Dunger himself has done before. Here he has left the winding melodies and long improvisations of earlier albums and, while still twisting every word before letting it go, he sings in a more audible way. And Dunger's voice is one of his biggest assets, from the warm humming of "Pass the Chains" to the slightly shrill shouting of "Ballad of a Relationship."

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