Live Rituals (2017)
Stone Foundation’s material is sort of soul/rock/funk in the way that, say, late sixties Traffic were, or early nineties Paul Weller. They are very much influenced by these two artists. Also Marvin Gaye, The O'Jays and much of the “Blaxploitation” urban funk of the mid-late seventies. The employ horns in their backing, melodic keyboards and funky guitar. This is a live album, featuring excellent sound and some of their best material. It is a delight.
Back In The Game is a superbly soulful number with a laid-back rock feel. The singer has a few Weller inflections in his vocal delivery, but in many ways has a better, more melodious voice than Weller. The bass and organ “bridge” in this track is excellent. Open Your Heart To The World is a bassy, catchy chilled out number, with some good percussion bits and some impressive wah-wah guitar. Street Rituals is another laid-back song with some nice saxophone.
Paul Weller himself appears as a guest guitarist/vocalist on Your Balloon Is Rising to great effect. It sounds like he was made to be part of the song. Strange People is a very appealing horn and funky guitar-driven slice of soul. The Limit Of A Man has very Weller-ish verses, but a big horn backed Stax-y chorus.
The Colour Of... is another Stax-influenced, Blaxploitation, Al Green-style track. It reminds me of some other song, but I can't put my finger on what. That funky flute. Gil Scott-Heron maybe. Best track on the album. Smoking hot. Love Uprising is very Style Council in its funk and vocal delivery. Pushing Your Love is just sublime. Great trumpet solo.
Overall, this is a good live album covering material from the band’s four solidly attractive, listenable studio albums.