Vocal harmony group The Overtones arrived with their debut album Good Ol’ Fashioned Love in 2010. The collection was a slow burner but after it was re-released in March 2011, the album went on to sell over 500,000 copies in the UK. The group followed its success with second album Higher in 2012 and 2013’s themed album Saturday Night at the Movies. All three albums peaked in the UK Top 10, with two of them reaching the Top 5, and have established The Overtones as one of the UK’s most popular acts. Now the guys are releasing their fourth studio album Sweet Soul Music.
For Sweet Soul Music, The Overtones – Lachie Chapman, Timmy Matley, Darren Everest, Mark Franks and Mike Crawshaw – have themed the album around a collection of soul classics with three original tracks mixed in. When we recently spoke to the group, Lachie explained how they had begun recording a very different album that they didn’t feel worked for them. After discussions amongst themselves and with the label, Sweet Soul Music was born and it pays homage to the group’s favourite singers and songs of the soul era.
The album opens with title track Sweet Soul Music, originally recorded by Arthur Conley. It gets things off to a strong start with Timmy taking care of lead vocals and the group’s tight harmonies soaring on the chorus. Looking over the tracklist, Sweet Soul Music reads like a greatest hits of the soul era and The Overtones certainly deliver putting their own twist on such great songs.
Elsewhere on the record 2013 X Factor winner Sam Bailey lends her vocals to a storming rendition of River Deep, Mountain High, the boys sound uber-smooth on the Al Green cover Let’s Stay Together, and give those stunning harmonies a workout on Heatwave.
Highlights on the record include Get Ready, where each of the boys get a chance to shine and the catchy Give Me Just a Little More Time. Our favourite moment comes on the group’s impressive rendition of Marvin Gaye’s I Heard It Through The Grapevine.
The three originals on the record fit seamlessly into the tracklisting. If you didn’t know they were originals, you’d be forgiven for thinking they were soul classics too. The Overtones have a real knack for being able to fit their own material into a tracklist of covers without you really noticing. Lead single Something Good is a punchy uptempo number and Moving On is driven by a constant beat and solid harmonies. The best of the original tracks is Giving Me Soul, which features a lead vocal from Lachie. It shows a softer side to Lachie’s deep vocals and is a gorgeous emotive song.
Sweet Soul Music is an album that never falters playing to The Overtones’ strengths and allows their trademark harmonies to take primary focus. You can hear each of the group members’ voices clearly throughout the whole record and they have never sounded better. Sweet Soul Music is the best album The Overtones have released yet and with a bar already set so high, that’s quite the compliment.
Sample Sweet Soul Music below: