Jeremy Poland & Lantz Dale – Timeless Soul
No one can accuse Jeremy Poland of standing pat. The success of his first release, Southbound Heart, compelled him to seek out another direction for the second release. It isn’t a release altogether divorced from the thrust behind his debut, but the pop/rock electric guitar posturing powering Southbound Heart. Lantz Dale, a songwriter and top notch musician in his own right, handled the production chores on Poland’s debut and brings a lot to the table as his songwriting and performing collaborator. Timeless Soul is an acoustic focused collection, but there are a couple of songs, at least, that simply sound like outright rock songs adapted to an acoustic setting. This doesn’t diminish their value but, instead, shows how well-rounded the songwriting chops fueling this album are. Poland and Dale have found a winning formula for Timeless Soul, but it’s never predictable. The songwriting, instead, brims and bubbles with real conviction and life from the beginning to the end.
The first song on Timeless Soul, “All Yours Now”, has a couple of different sides. There’s real instrumental excellence here in the obvious restraint shown by the guitar playing – it’s abundantly clear that it’s capable of more, but it never delivers anymore than the song requires. The other side of the song is, despite its singer/songwriter-ish leanings, the climactic moment for the track is the chorus and it’s full blown catchy pop. There’s a few songs on Timeless Soul easily adaptable for an electric arrangement and this is one. It’s not a stretch to dub it unplugged power pop with a sharply intelligent edge. The duo’s intelligent songwriting finds an even greater forum for expression on the track “In the Light”, but it’s likely the truest “grower” on Timeless Soul. It can seem a bit staid as it, essentially, pursues a single musical idea for a considerable portion of the performance. It transforms, delightfully and unexpectedly, into a much different animal during the song’s second half before recapitulating the primary motif.
“I’m a Wreck” leavens its darkness with some outstanding vocal harmonies, specifically during the chorus, but its despair is bracingly direct and difficult to ignore. The vocals deliver dire lines in plainspoken language that doesn’t mince words, but the balance of darkness versus light is always maintained. Another of Timeless Soul’s great acoustic pop rock peaks comes with the track “Where Did It Go?”, but the same musical substance defining the earlier examples holds true here. A word about the production – the seven songs on Timeless Soul are presented with such rich, warm clarity that helps them even easier for audiences to relish. “Sunday Afternoon” is one of Timeless Soul’s moodier cuts initially, but it gradually builds to a more optimistic tone and spends a significant part of its time shuffling along at a brightly lit pace before returning to its more muted beginnings for a finale. The title number personifies the intelligent, accessible approach mentioned earlier. The reflective lyrics, well phrased vocals, and sympathetic arrangement come together to bring a final curtain down on Timeless Soul that singlehandedly justifies the reasoning behind this project. Jeremy Poland and Lantz Dale have brought their talents into perfect accord with each other on this brief, but high quality, release.
9 out of 10 stars