JACKSOUL: ABSOLUTE

 

 

If a sudden baby boom or population explosion is attributed someday to romantic trysts formed directly as a result of listening to Jacksoul's new BMG album ABsolute, don't blame HAYDAIN NEALE.

"I've been hearing some pretty interesting anecdotes about what people are doing when they're listening to Jacksoul," laughs the charismatic lead singer of the six-piece Toronto-based band whose sensuous brand of urban pop has been igniting libidos across the nation.

Then again, maybe you should blame him.

If it weren't for his smoldering vocals, guitarist JUSTIN ABEDIN's discriminating expertise, keyboardist BRENT SETTERINGTON's prismatic tonal hues, ADAM LEO's fragrant saxuality and the groove-inducing alliance of bassist DAVE MURRAY and drummer ROGER TRAVASSOS -- not to mention ABsolute's aggregation of killer songs -- the soul-soaked, R&B-engulfed music of Jacksoul wouldn't be such an effective sonic aphrodisiac, so instrumental in stoking those hormonal volcanoes of primal passion.

Yet Haydain makes it clear from the very beginning that the seductive strains of songs such as "Eastbound", the soul-stewing first single stirred slowly over a percolating beat, the pheremonally funky Indigo and the relaxed, rap-laced rhythms of "(Do You) Like It Like That" aspire to be more than your above average silk 'n satin bedroom anthems.

"I hope that we transcend any kind of bump'n grind, wanna-get-freaky-with you-tune, and really hit you on a different level that's not even really sexual," Haydain explains.

"I don't want it to be so much about escapism as much as a reminder that there are other things to be alive about. Things you should experience without analyzing them. We're interested in pulling people away from their everyday, mundane existences. I'd like Jacksoul and ABsolute  to be part of that small number of experiences in your lifetime that defies the routine."

To fulfill that mandate, Jacksoul combines dynamic musicianship with a lyrical aesthetic that specializes in the realm of the unspoken: those intimate moments between people where chemistry speaks louder than words.

"Before your relationship even gets to a romantic level, there are lots of intense moments that happen in really innocuous settings," notes Haydain. "It might be sitting down having a coffee. It might be passing your girlfriend a can opener. You can have a three-and-a-half minute love affair with someone without exchanging a word. It could just be a telltale glance, or a certain awareness. There are lots of things people take for granted."

Throw in a healthy dose of honesty and an even stronger pledge to integrity, and Jacksoul's collection of burning ballads and valentine vibes become intimate glimpses of a responsive heart.

"From the more sexual songs such as `Nubian Blue' and `Let Me Ride' to the more straightahead romantic tunes, like `Unconditional', everything has a piece of something personal so that it's not just another song," says Haydain.

"There are things about the way I feel that I express in every song from `Eastbound' to `Confection' to `Show Me Love' purposefully to make sure I don't get out of the habit of trying to be real. Since I also speak on behalf of the band, we're bringing you into our lives as much as the other way around."

Now we're not going to lie to you. ABsolute  is almost a year old, and is being relaunched by BMG both as a celebration and an introduction before Haydain and the boys undertake a Canadian tour and head back into the studio in the Fall.

However, the combined buzz from the album and from Jacksoul's growing reputation as a hot live act sparked both critical acclaim and BMG president PAUL ALOFS' interest, leading to their exclusive multi-album deal with BMG Music Canada.

What's unique about Jacksoul is their universal appeal to folks regardless of age, as the band discovered firsthand last year when they played atop a flatbed truck in downtown Kitchener on Canada Day.

"It was a really cool vibe," Haydain recalls. " I remember seeing so many kids running around the stage. We were playing in front of a couple of hundred people, and I remember watching everyone -- from young to old, most who hadn't heard us before -- grooving to the beats.

"That really feels good. I don't think it will ever cease to amaze me how people will stick around and watch us. Even when we play a groove spot like Toronto's Bam Boo Club, about 75-100 people will stick around to check us out after dinner, rather than leave. The fact we can regularly retain a crowd like that makes me feel really positive.

"You can have all the marketing power in the world behind you, but if you can't get people up off their feet, nothing will help you," he notes.

Formed when the Hamilton-born Neale was studying biology at The University Of Guelph four years ago, Jacksoul spent hours of rehearsals "in a renovated chicken shack" located in Kitchener as they sculpted their vibrant sound.

Now with the first chapter complete in ABsolute, Haydain and his buddies in Jacksoul are ready to continue a life and career of music created without assumptions.

"I would love to create a body of work with these guys in the band that sort of catches people off guard," Haydain declares. "These guys, they can wail. We just have this need to create an impression."

-30-

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