What a pleasant surprise it has been to receive LORD SHANI's 2013 debut release on Go Down Records, 'Progress Your Soul'! Hailing from Italy, this female fronted band is capable of writing songs that are not stingy with strong hooklines. Add to this the fact that LORD SHANI show openness by welcoming varied influences, ranging from hard rock to progressive rock, blues and soul. In this process, the 1970s play an important role, but the music is less retrospective than one may assume. 'Progress Your Soul' is more like an up-dated version of the good old stuff, and that's what makes it so good.
The diversity of the included 10 tracks rounds out this comprehensive palette. There's some Hendrix-esque funk in 'Fight', but also 'I Stand Accused' knows to entertain me with more funky grooves which are accompanied by a cool blues harp. However, 'Cosmic Ordeal' is the only instrumental tune on this album and it reveals the prog rock influences of LORD SHANI in a very pleasant way. It's also one of the very few tracks where additional keyboards appear that remain discretely in the background. To be honest, I miss the warm, soulful vocals from Viola Road here, because she is able to put a face to the music.
Leaving aside my opinion, it is firstly evident that the band merges into a powerful, harmonious unity where each of the included musicians is an equal part of the whole. With 'Progress Your Soul', LORD SHANI present themselves as a very inspired and powerful new band. Their music proves that the band has a certain talent for songwriting, but also in other respects they left a good impression.