Even within a decade -- the '70s -- that gave listeners arguably unequaled quantities of brilliantly gifted hard rock vocalists, former Trapeze and Deep Purple legend Glenn Hughes was an instantly recognizable force due to his singular lung capacity and soulful tone. Oh yeah, and he plays bass, too, don't you know? And it may well be that second, less famous talent -- when paired up with Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer extraordinaire Chad Smith into a dynamite rhythm section -- that constitutes the real X-factor to the success of Hughes' 2005 solo project, Soul Mover. Hughes' longtime guitarist, J.J. Marsh, and top session organist Ed Roth also contribute to the album's heavy funk, and lead one to think that, were it not for Smith's business and legal responsibilities to RHCP, Soul Mover would have probably been released under a proper band moniker -- such is the crackling electricity between the four men. But in any event (and on to the music), the opening title track piles on the star power with a visiting Dave Navarro playing a pyrotechnic solo over the Stevie Ray Vaughan-reminiscent, chunky guitar wallop, and the ensuing "She Moves Ghostly" is memorable both for its nearly overpowering Latin-flavored percussion and for Hughes' multi-tracked vocals, which make it sound as if his old Deep Purple foil, David Coverdale, were also sitting in on the session. Numerous energetic fusions of funk and classic rock aesthetics follow, but the album's most memorable moments are reserved for Hughes' most personal and heartfelt songs: "Change Yourself" and "Let It Go" are both poignant, darker, and slower soul-baring essays about his "wasted years" under the cloud of substance abuse; "Isolation" contrasts dreamy jazz with a big-ass '80s-flavored "rawk" sound; and the bluesy, organ-drenched and falsetto-laden "Last Mistake" precedes the all-styles-encompassing final track, "Don't Let Me Bleed." In sum, even more so than Soul Mover's consistently interesting and strong songwriting, it's that aforementioned "band" vibe making this much more than a thrown-together star-studded solo outing: this is an album in the most satisfying sense.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Eduardo Rivadavia