I took on reviewing Stone Foundation‘s A Life Unlimited because I wanted something different. I want a break from the pop punk, heavy metal and indie rock bands just once to do something different and unique and a little out of my usual element. A bands with a full time horn section and conga player aren’t common on the list of the 200+ bands I’ve reviewed, and that only makes this that much more exciting.
Opening track Beverley was the first song I heard by Stone Foundation, before I decided to take on A Life Unlimited. I was a little reluctant, with such a style being out of my element, especially with Beverly specifically being a particularly relaxed and soothing track. However, the deeper I listened to it, and as I listened to more tracks, I started to hear a Chicago style in their sound, no doubt thanks to the help of the horn section, which made it seem less and less strange for me to take on this soulful album.
While Beverley is considerably more relaxed than the rest of A Life Unlimited, the rest of the album is still quite mellow. Vocalist/guitarist Neil Jones‘s voice only helps the soothing sounds of Stone Foundation, and it’s his vocal melodies that often creates the hook of most songs. The choruses of Learning The Hard Way and Pushing Your Love, although it’s his semi-rapping in A Love Uprising that makes the otherwise enjoyable track a bit awkward. Ultimately it’s the entire band that helps Stone Foundation stand out above the pack.
Such songs as Something in the Light, The Turnaround, The Night Teller and the almost eight minute Speak Your Piece show that Stone Foundation really know how to make the music do the talking. The only drawback on most of A Life Unlimited is its similar pace on most tracks. Thankfully, with this ability that Stone Foundation has of letting the music do the talking, the songs don’t actually sound the same, despite the lack of different tempos.
The only song that I feel has true oomph to it is These Life Stories, and even that track is rather mellow. It just has a more intense horn section than on most other songs. Ian Arnold‘s piano playing on the closing instrumental track Old Partners, New Dances only helps my opinion of Stone Foundations ability to write a song.I may not review many soul bands with large horn sections and jazz fusion influences, but I sure do enjoy A Life Unlimited. Stone Foundation is made up of professionals at their craft and that point is put across all through the album, making for a relaxing listen from beginning to end.
Thanks for reading!
“Learning The Hard Way” – This was the first song to stay stuck in my head. Every song is slow and relaxing, some more so than Learning The Hard Way, but since this song is what I find to be the catchiest of them all, I think it would make for the best highlight. Plus every instrument is present and impactful, which isn’t the case for every track on A Life Unlimited.
8 (Out of 10)
|2||Pushing Your Love||4:15|
|3||Something In the Light||4:46|
|5||Speak Your Piece||7:55|
|6||The Night Teller||4:40|
|7||Learning the Hard Way||3:49|
|8||These Life Stories||4:30|
|9||A Love Uprising||5:52|
|10||Old Partners, New Dances||2:41|