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The Bellrays - Punk Funk Rock Soul Vol.1 & 2 (Album Review)

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Lisa Kekaula channels Tina Turner backed by consistently high energy blues rock comparable to Doyle Bramhall Jr. and Lenny Kravitz. The storytelling here is rather simple but well enunciated and fun as with songs such as "Junior High" and "Bad Reaction" that nod to drug culture. The cheekiest and funkiest of them all is the sexy "Shake My Snake" with plenty of expected innuendo and a fantastic percussion breakdown.
While the band is solid they never take the focal point of the music away from Kekaula which speaks volumes about the caliber of their talent. "Brand New Day" for example easily sounds like an open for a television show and could no doubt achieve that. If you find yourself pining for the days when you bought an album to listen to it as a whole experience verses the occasional hit single this is it.
Although the group self identifies as punky it is only vaguely reminiscent at points to The Ramones. Similarly while Kekaula is a soulful singer the songs here are much more consistently rock than soul although there is no doubt that as adept as she is vocally she could master any genre including soul. 
The melodic riffs are the roots of each of these songs and so the band is never beleaguered with tiresome instrumentals and thus each song delivers a tight compact punch and steers this away from a traditional blues sound (If any comparison is to be made it would be to Texas style blues.) That said the overall repertoire could stand for a few more ballads similar to "Every Chance I Get" which has more of a bass and cymbal groove. 
Overall Volumes 1 and 2 of Punk Funk Rock and Soul are well worth repeated listening!
-Brooke Trout

Check out The BellRays new Punk Funk Rock Soul album in it’s entirety here 

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