barrence whitfield & the savages Soul Flowers of Titan (CD, £12.75)label: bloodshot
From a far out moon beyond the rings of Saturn to a dingy studio in Cincinnati, this Barrence Whitfield and the Savages platter embraces a cosmic and groovy unification. It's a wild, electric phantasmagoria of blues, rock, garage, and soul; it blasts off into diverse orbits only to come back together into a singular Savage cosmology. Soul Flowers of Titan is about people shooting guns, separating, coming home (someday), falling in love, running around, leaving this earth, going crazy, drinking coffee, and thinking about Sun Ra. Titan is the largest moon of Saturn, a planet which astrologically symbolises pain and struggle. Cincinnati, where the album was recorded (at Ultra Suede Studio), is home to many classic and unknown independent labels, like King and Federal, that fostered a frayed and raucous sound in the 1950s and '60s. With such history at their fingertips, the Savages could not resist the urge to celebrate and elaborate on this legacy, to go places high and low, faraway and down-home. Longtime followers of the Savage Sound will notice right away a heavier sound, a blast of B3 and Rheem organs (courtesy of newest Savage Brian Olive) and a live-in-the- room urgency. It's a multi-faceted vehicle for a top-notch band wigging out with beefy, staccato blues scales, punk and garage riffs, fronted by a first-order shouter well- heeled in the aesthetics of soul, R&B, and rockabilly. Soul Flowers of Titan is Barrence Whitfield and the Savages' third LP for Bloodshot Records and fourth since reforming in 2010 after a 25-year hiatus. BW&S shot out of Boston in the mid-'80s with the force of a rocket ship. Through their sweaty dance party shows and love of primal soul, they were to R&B what the Cramps were to rockabilly - a gateway musical drug for nascent underground roots mavens.
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