Published May 06, 2015The Soul Motivators are a nine-piece Torontonian soul-funk troop that play as a seamless unit. And every member of that stacked roster has plenty of time to shine on their latest LP, Free to Believe.
The exuberant horn section — composed of Nathan Dell-Vandenberg (trombone), Dominique Morier (saxophone) and Thomas Moffett (trumpet) — may snag most of the spotlight at first, and for good reason. On the title track, Dell-Vandenberg unleashes a vibrato-rife solo that is sure to tingle spines, but what's even more impressive is how the horn trio often works as one, squealing like bald tires against asphalt on the appropriately titled "Street Level," or blaring like sirens on "Love Thing."
But even during a casual listen, it's apparent just how well rounded the Soul Motivators are. Doug Melville and Nigel Pitt's rattling percussion is thrillingly unpredictable throughout, Voltaire Ramos (guitar) and Marc Shapiro (bass) keep the rhythms airtight and keyboardist James Robinson's unfussy playing firmly underpins it all. Vocalist Lydia Persaud, who's only in her mid-20s, more than holds her own against her seasoned bandmates, deftly belting out one feisty, cheeky couplet after the next. Together, they've recorded a feverishly fun, highly danceable album that'll satisfy vintage funk revivalists and the uninitiated alike. (Do Right!)