Experiment On A Flat Plane


Terminus Records, 2000


REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Alternative-country seems to be the "in" thing these days. Not that I'm complaining; many of the bands who advocate this style I have found to be quite enjoyable, and their style of music might just open up alternative music fans' ears to country (and vice versa).

Soulhat is the latest band I'd place in this quickly-growing category. Their latest disc, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Experiment On A Flat Plane, shows that their approach to this genre (which includes a little more humor and a little more focus on the alternative side) can not only work, but work well.

Led by vocalist/guitarist Kevin McKinney, Soulhat plow through 12 such numbers (inclufing two shorter instrumental "bookends" on the disc), keeping the listener interested and entertained at the same time. Tracks like "Plastic," "Mailbox" and "Cash" all will make the listener wonder why Soulhat hasn't become a bigger name yet. (Who knows? That all could change with this album.)

But there's plenty of light-hearted humor as well on Experiment On A Flat Plane. Take "WNBA" for example - possibly the first song around to mention the relatively-new women's basketball league. Our hero laments the loss of his beloved, who has gone to play basketball - and it's kind of funny to hear him bemoaning the fact he can't get free season tickets. (The only drawback I could see is, because this song has the strongest country roots, it might re-affirm the stereotype that country music is all about heartbreak, drinking and cheating.)

Soulhat might have some twang to their music, but they also don't abandon their alternative rock roots, as heard on the more experimental track "Microwave" - a track which is more bizarre than I'd have expected, but is still intriguing nonetheless. If anything, Soulhat should be commended for being willing to take such risks in their music, especially a genre that is still in development.

Alternative-country is a genre of music that is supposed to be fun to listen to, and Experiment On A Flat Plane meets these criteria. Something tells me the best is yet to come from Soulhat, but until then, this disc will do nicely, thank you very much.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2001 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Terminus Records, and is used for informational purposes only.