Hailing form Americana Capitol, New Orleans, David Shaw and company had a lot of soul and jazz creole to take from. The seven other members on this super-band include Ed Williams on pedal steel guitar, Rob Ingram on saxophone, Andrew Campanelli on drums, George Gekas on bass, Michael Girardot on keys and trumpet, and Zack Feinberg on guitar. This size of band was common in the early 20th century in jazz and southern soul groups, which were very popular in New Orleans. This style of music is part of the cities culture that is carried on today, and certainly where the Revivalists got their sound. At times their sound can feel close to “stoner rock” which comes from the creole nature of the music that most French colonies kept, including the home of Reggae, Jamaica.
The group formed rather organically, when Shaw and Feinberg began playing together. Later, other artists they knew filled out the band and then some. In 2008, they self-released an EP and an album, Vital signs, a head if a tour of the US. Their following album, City of Sound, was also self-released before the band was picked up by Wind-Up Records in 2012. Men Against Mountains, released in 2015, brought them more recognition and charted for the first time. Not only that, the album hit number five on US Heatseekers, and the lead single “Wish I Knew You” sat at number one in Billboard Hot 100 for nine weeks, being platinum certified. It may have taken them close to a decade, but once people heard what they were making, they loved it.
Now with Loma Vista records, Paulet Howard joined during the recording process for their new album. Along with this, the band made more changes like hiring more writers and producers to help. This change really shows. Take Good Care is the most refined and put together Revivalists record. Period.
The lead single, “All My Friends” is more pop oriented in the vocals, but keeps the familiar feel of soul rock. The Trumpet ads one of the more crucial parts of the rhythm. What makes the Revivalists special is they use all these instruments in almost every song. “Change” is one of my favorite songs on this album, with its lighter sound and heavier, louder guitar. “Got Love” is a nice piece that harkins back to the sound of their last album, and who I still see them as. The Pedal steel guitar is pronounced and clearly carries the sound like before. There’s soul in Shaw’s voice comes through in just the right places to really bring the sound back to that New Orleans Creole Soul.
There’s something special, however, to be said about the departure from this sound in “Oh No”. The guitar takes on this rough, wah sound like the greats of the early 70’s. Nothing on the remainder of this album really stands out to me, “Hate To Live You” stands out for it’s slower, gospel-like vocals, the rest of the songs fit into either paying homage to the last album and its sound, or breaking into more of a hard rock sound.
On the second seven inch record there are two songs that fill out the album. In my ears, “Some People Say” is the best of both worlds between a new sound and the one they come from. The last song on this album is an acoustic track that is almost painfully simple. Unlike the final tracks on A Flourish and a Spoil by the Districts, there’s not complexity to this track. No matter how many times I listen to this album, I forget what this track sounds like.
Before I go, it is important to mention how visually stunning this record is. Red suits this album very well. As I mentioned earlier, this album comes on two records, one being a seven inch with the last two songs on it. All the lyrics appear on the song jackets, and there are no inserts.