REVIEW: Soul’d Out Quartet – The Return

Producer:  Matt Rankin / Soul’d Out Quartet
Label:  Horizon Records

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The sound and style of the Soul’d Out Quartet has really evolved a lot over the years.  I remember when I first heard them about 12 years ago, they had a more traditional sound that was kind of a mix between the Kingsmen and Gold City.  Over time, the group has shifted more and more towards a progressive sound and this latest release is probably their most progressive offering to date.  While I don’t think it alienates their growing fan base, it does offer something quite a bit edgier than their previous offerings.

The recording starts out with a cover of “I WILL DO THE SAME”, which was previously recorded a few years ago by Gordon Mote and features an excellent vocal performance by lead singer, Jason McAtee before moving on to the mellow groove of “HEAVEN”, which features tenor, Dusty Barrett.

Baritone and group leader, Matt Rankin, steps up to sing the up-tempo “THAT WONDERFUL DAY”.  First recorded by the group back in 2006, the song originally had a more traditional quartet feel, but it has been given a make-over and has a much more progressive feel.  The song also features some deep step out vocals by bass singer, Ian Owens as well and is one of my favorite songs on the recording.

The tempo slows back down for the powerful worship tune, “NEXT TO A HOLY GOD”, which features Jason.  Dusty steps back up to sing the medium tempo song of consecration, “LORD TAKE THIS LIFE”.

“THE RETURN” is a power ballad that most SG fans will really enjoy.  The song has a rich, choral feel to it, though there is no choir back-up and is one of the most memorable songs on the recording.  The tempo then picks back up a bit for the title song, “RUN TO THE LIGHT”.

Ian steps up to sing, “JESUS IS MY BEST FRIEND”, which has a really nice blues feel to it.  This is a fun tune that I’m sure goes over really well in a concert setting and is a highlight of the recording.

The group does a really great job with the Imperials classic tune, “WATER GRAVE” before the recording closes out with the worshipful, “HALLELUJAH, WHAT A SAVIOR”.  Not to be confused with the classic hymn penned by Philip P. Bliss, this is a new offering written by Matt Rankin, and is a highlight of the recording and an appropriate closing for the recording.

Rankin wrote or co-wrote 8 of the songs on this recording and he has proven to be a truly gifted songwriter and the group interprets his songs very well.  The production aspects of the recording are outstanding and while some of the songs tend to run together because of similar tempos, there are some really outstanding cuts on this recording.  As I stated earlier, while this is definitely their most progressive recording of their career, their true fans will enjoy it and this may even win them some new fans as well.  I’d love to see someone like Michael English or Ricky Free get ahold of these guys and produce their next recording.  Nonetheless, it’ll be interesting to see how their sound will continue evolve as this particular iteration of the group continues to gel as a cohesive unit, because they have a big vocal sound that can pretty much do anything they want, vocally.


Track Listing:
(stars denote personal favorites)

I Will Do the Same**
That Wonderful Day**
Next to a Holy God
Lord Take This Life
The Return**
Run to the Light
Jesus is my Best Friend**
Water Grave**
Hallelujah, What a Savior**


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James Hales

James Hales, from Durham, North Carolina, has been a writer for since 2000. James is our featured reviewer and also contributes to monthly features periodically.
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