The RIDEOUTS – Heart & Soul
The Rideouts are a fun and rather surprising group of Italian musicians unabashedly paying homage to British and American rock of the 1960s and 70s. Guitarist and singer Max Scherbi of Trieste, Italy, formed the band in 2003 after a pilgrimage to Liverpool to follow the footsteps of The Beatles. He returned to Italy with fluent English and called upon Andrea d’Ostuni to join him on drums and bassist Gianpiero de Candia; together they formed The Rideouts. They released their first full-length album The Storm After the Calm in 2009. Their second album, Heart & Soul, was released in January 2016. Heart & Soul is a well-written, composed, and played album. The sound is easy-going and lively. Scherbi’s time in England and influence from the likes of the Beatles and Eric Clapton is obvious, but this is actually a beautiful thing. The Rideouts have taken the free-flowing, relaxed vibe of rock from the 1960s, mastered it, modernized it, and made it their own. Few people would argue that The Beatles are one of the most popular and influential bands of all time. It’s admirable and frankly unique that The Rideouts are so open about their influences. This is not to say that Heart & Soul is a direct copy of The Beatles. Not at all. This album is a honest re-imagination of their sound using the talents of the members of The Rideouts. Great literature references the classics so why can’t great music?
Heart & Soul is a balanced blend of up-tempo, rollicking rock tracks; playful pop-rock songs, and wistful, sentimental ballads. The Rideouts give you a little bit of everything, a testament to their multi-dimensional sound. A few tracks have direct homages to the artists that have influenced them, but The Rideouts are not copiers, they develop each track with their own style. It is important that the first track “Not Enough” doesn’t have any apparent references nor is it particularly reminiscent of the 1960s sound, making it clear from the beginning that The Rideouts have created a sound all their own.
“Wait” opens with the line “Sitting in the garden / underneath the sun / waiting for the moment / that will change my luck.” This is a direct reference to a verse from “I am the Walrus” by The Beatles, “Sitting in an English garden waiting for the sun.” This is a classic line that any music buff will recognize. Scherbi’s similarity to Lennon’s voice on this opening line is uncanny and frankly brilliant. As always, The Rideouts progress the song in their own direction. “Wait” is not a quirky rendering of “I am the Walrus.” Instead the sound really changes with the chorus, with the vocals and drum picking up in a carefree tone and shows us who The Rideouts are as artists.
Heart & Soul has two beautiful ballads that are accompanied by a string quartet. One of these is “I’m So Sorry,” a heartfelt lament of someone’s failure to their partner in a relationship. “I’m So Sorry” is heartbreaking, there’s no doubt about it. Luckily, The Rideouts don’t leave us melancholy, but lift us up with the next track “Give it to Me.” “Give it to Me” is an uptempo, bluesy request for someone’s love. The chorus of “Give it, won’t you give it / Won’t you, why won’t you give it to me?” isn’t whining or bittersweet, but playful and entreating. The bluesy guitar reminds a bit of Hendrix or Clapton and the quiet female background vocals further complete the reference to the music of the 1960s.
Overall, with Heart & Soul, The Rideouts have crafted a lively, dynamic album. The voices and instruments are all pleasing, and the lyrics and music have just the right touch of 1960s rock sounds blended with The Rideouts personal styles. This modern, Italian-tinged take on American and British rock from the 1960s is is fresh and fun to listen to.