Due to the album title, UK's SOUL THIEF caught my eye, because I love old funk from the late 1960s/early to mid-1970s. So I hoped very much that this band was inspired by early Funkadelic, Black Merda or Betty Davis. Well, not all of my hopes have been fulfilled, but nonetheless 'Funk City Revolutions' provides a viable alternative to the typical fuzz-drenched heavy rock. In addition, SOUL THIEF is definitely funkier than your average classic rock band. Songs like 'You're Fire!' or 'City Ride' are permeated by the spirit of Eddie Hazel (Parliament, Funkadelic) and Jimi Hendrix (especially Band Of Gypsys have left their traces), whereas 'Stranger With A Gun' is somewhat similar to Cream. Funny enough, SOUL THIEF bassist Bob Matthews does the vocals as well and his relaxed style also reminds me to Jack Bruce.
But the jewel in the crown, however, is guitarist Marcus Gage who breathes plenty of life into the songs with his eclectic guitar playing. He is a virtuoso in telling stories just with his solos and the best part about it is that he tries to avoid dull guitar wankery. Even when SOUL THIEF is going to meander into jam-band territory as in 'Tiger Claw', there is no boredom in sight. The switch between a cleaner and a more distorted guitar tone makes a more dynamic impression, while drummer Stuart Barton is the human equivalent to a metronome.
Basically, they all play very much up to the point, with very delicate dynamics and accents. Sometimes they allow themselves an excursion to psychedelic worlds and I am very much reminded of mid-1970s Pink Floyd. Those who now presume that SOUL THIEF do everything in their power to reawake old times should look a little closer, because this is not the case. It is rather that it's the old sound in a modern suit. Or 'timeless' would be a more accurate description than 'modern'. Anyway, 'Funk City Revolutions' is a very promising, ambitious release, which I really enjoy.