“Heart & Soul” by The Rideouts
“Heart & Soul” is the newest album by the Italian pop-rock band The Rideouts. Founded in 2003 by guitarist and vocalist Max Scherbi, the current lineup is rounded out with Andrea Radini on guitars, vocalist Michela Grilli, drummer Federico Gullo, and bassist Gianpiero de Candia. Scherbi spent the early 2000’s in Liverpool, England honing his craft and polishing up his English, in the process developing a sound that has heavy echoes of the British invasion of the 60’s with a modern twist.
“Heart & Soul” is an 11 track offering that was mastered by Grammy Award winning engineer Blake La Grange at Mercury Mastering in Oceanside, California. The tone is set high on the first track, “Not Enough”, a strong opener with a raw, distorted vocal track and blistering guitars that continue into the second song, “Plastic Soul”.
“I’m So Sorry” is the first ballad on the album and it brings more of an acoustic feel with heavy strings and clean vocals, very reminiscent of a Duran Duran track from the 80’s. “Give It To Me” invokes a bluesy rock feel with a bare bones guitar riff that immediately conjures memories of Santana.
“I’ll Be Free” starts off with a catch riff that could be comparable to something by the band Cake, but almost immediately morphs into a power chord driven anthem about breaking free from a toxic relationship. As almost an answer to the previous track “Put the Blame On Me” is a deeply reflective offering with an acoustic feel that almost sounds like something that could have been an unused take from an Oasis album.
“Who I Am” is immediately in your face with a big, chunky guitar licks, solid drumming and reverting back to the distorted lead vocals from the first track. Grilli’s clean backing vocals are prominently on display as they nicely contrast Scherbi’s best Lenny Kravitz impression. “Wait” takes a slower pace, but doesn’t skimp on the guitar with a laid back groove that would be right at home at the original Woodstock.
The last three tracks, “Take It Easy”, “Be A Man”, and “Don’t Cry” finish out the album safely, following much of the same format of the rest of the project with the only deviation of “Be A Man” is a little funkier than the rest of their set and “Don’t Cry” is a stripped down ballad with an acoustic guitar and little else to fill out the instrumentals.
Overall I enjoyed this album very much. The production value was high and the final mix was fantastic, although not unexpected considering the pedigree of Blake La Grange. The classic 60’s rock vibe of the album is fun and easy to listen to although at times the distorted vocal effect seemed a bit overused, it didn’t detract from the overall feel of the album. I’d give “Heart & Soul” a 6.5/10 on the strength of obvious talent, good production value, and a strong sense of nostalgia.