Considering that soul has been at the foundation of Hall & Oates' sound throughout their career -- even their early folk-rock records had soulful underpinnings -- it only made sense for the duo to eventually cut their own soul tribute album. As the title suggests, that's exactly what 2004's Our Kind of Soul is: Hall & Oates' spin on their favorite soul sounds. This includes, of course, heavy doses of Philly soul and Motown, along with other smooth soul of the '70s. Most of the album is devoted to covers -- usually familiar tunes like "Standing in the Shadows of Love," "I'll Be Around," and "Used to Be My Girl" -- yet there are a couple of more obscure entries and a heavily rewritten "I Can Dream About You" (in his excellent track-by-track liner notes, Daryl Hall reveals that Dan Hartman wrote the song with the duo in mind), but there is a handful of originals that fit into the vibe quite well, such as the lush "Soul Violins" and "Let Love Take Control." All the songs, whether they're covers or originals, are given a clean yet warm production similar to the pair's successful 2003 comeback effort, Do It for Love, but this is a little more laid-back and unassuming. Consequently, it doesn't make as big of an impression, but it's a friendly, mellow affair that finds Hall & Oates in good form. It's not quite as strong as Do It for Love, and its tasteful, relaxed vibe may strike some fans of their '80s hits as being a little sleepy, but for longtime fans who like the folky Atlantic material as much as their blue-eyed soul, this is a nice, enjoyable listen.
Our Kind of Soul Review
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine