Experiment on a Flat Planet

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Not surprisingly there are a few changes in the six-year interim between Soulhat's last album and this one. Most obviously, co-founder, singer/songwriter Bill Cassis has departed, replaced by Mac McNabb who doesn't contribute tunes or vocals. That leaves the songwriting onus almost entirely on Kevin McKinney, who although capable, tends to arrange all the tracks with a similar slightly funky, mid-tempo bounce. He's now the only singer, and while his grainy, soulful approach is adequate, it isn't strong or distinctive enough to support an entire album. The band's predominantly acoustic style incorporates touches of blues, country, rock, funk, pop, folk, and even reggae in a congenial, bubbly, often contagious mix that is inoffensive, but hardly inspiring. The band tries, but the disc meanders through its 12 tracks without breaking a sweat. Only when the lyrics jump out as they do on the hot-dog, double-time, bluegrass-propelled, basketball double-entendre "WNBA" ("she's got a lovely little lay-up") does anything jump out with the energy and unbridled enthusiasm that has kept the Texas band a big club draw during the '90s. Even legendary rock/funk drummer B.E. "Frosty" Smith doesn't inject enough electricity here to maintain interest throughout the album's 40-minute playing time. On a hot night these songs could bring a crowded club to its feet, but on album there's a spark and energy missing that leaves Experiment on a Flat Plane as level and even as its title suggests.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 0:56
2 3:58
3 3:53
5 3:47
10 3:15
11 5:08
blue highlight denotes track pick