- 27 Jun 22
Papa, Gimme Some Ice Cream!
While it must be easier to make miserable records - which may explain why there are so many of them -trapping joy in the grooves has always been a trickier proposition. How then does Soul Music produce so much joyful noise, even when it’s singing about hard times?
Ural Thomas has form for this kind of thing. Six decades of it to be precise, including 1961’s ‘Push-Em Up’ with The Monterays, and 1967’s nearly-too-funky ‘Can You Dig It?’. Dancing Dimensions is the third album with The Pain, who must have been named ironically, because that’s the last thing they make you feel.
The opening title track has a psychedelic groove sinuous enough to set statues swaying and get the lame not only up and walking but throwing shapes that would leave doctors confounded, and if the afterlife has a soundtrack like the open hi-hats and falsetto - and flutes! - of ‘Heaven’ then it’s time to take up praying. ‘Do You Remember The Times We Had?’ moseys along in its own sweet way, with you thinking this brass-driven ode to summer couldn’t get any better, only for the guitar to go full Ernie Isley before Mr Thomas almost manages to reclaim scat singing as something worth hearing. "Can we do it just one more time?" asks Mr Thomas. You'll insist that he does.
The piano and the percussion of ‘Ol Safiya’ could be rattling down the back of Tipitina’s as The Pain morph into The Neville Brothers, the horn-blasting-ode-to-radio ‘My Favourite Song’ could well live up to its name, and the testifying that’s going on in the closing hat-trick of ‘Hung Up On My Dream’, ‘Promises’ and ‘If It Wasn’t For Love’ could get Hannibal Lecter off with a warning. There's no doubting this Thomas.
Add to all that Ural’s trilogy of food-related odes – don't worry about calorific intake from ‘Apple Pie’, El Eey Em Eh’ and ‘Gimme Some Ice Cream’ because even if you suffer a heart attack from over indulgence, it'll take the undertaker a week to get the grin off your face – and you’re talking about a near-perfect summer record that’ll make you feel warm even when it’s lashing. Do yourself a massive favour.