There is a band in Akron, Ohio named Simeon Soul Charger. They are group of crazy masterful players. I have had the joy of seeing them live once or twice and recently acquired a CD from them. This simple self-titled EP is six songs that may and probably will sell you as a fan, well five of the songs at least. The band consists of Aaron Brooks on vocals/guitar/piano, Jim Garibaldi on bass, Joe Kidd on drums, Kevin Bjerre on cello, and Rick Phillips on lead guitar/vocals.

Simeon Soul Charger's self-title EP released 2009

Simeon Soul Charger's self-titled EP released 2009

I first pulled out this CD and placed it in my car to be listened to “whenever I got to it.” It’s a serious shame that I did not get to it sooner. The opening track “Sitting on the Rainbow” reminded of Columbus band Black Cat Revival (formerly Wigglepussy Indiana) with strong riffs and amazing sweeping vocals. Brooks can really belt out a line. He has a soft and yet gravelly voice that is both soothing and slightly offsetting, but in a good way. The second song “Trigger” had me thinking of a good mix between Nirvana and Mr. Bungle. The third song “Cocharamoona,” which conjured up thoughts of the TV show True Blood, had forgettable lyrics, but I didn’t seem to care because I was so into the music that it didn’t seem to matter. The voice felt like more of an instrument in this one. The solos were well placed and surprisingly tame.

Then the forth song came on and “oh my god, turn it off” was running out of my mouth in a second. Not that I didn’t want to hear it.  This was the chorus and I couldn’t stop singing along. This song will make you dance even if you can’t. You just feel the need. Musically this song isn’t anything new, but it is an awesome feel good song. This is something we seem to be missing in alt-rock music as of late. I think I hear only a few new feel good alt-rock songs a year on the radio and this can easily compete with those, if not knock every one of them out of the water. I would suggest skipping the fifth song, unless you like ballads. I’m not too particular and it as it made me think of a bad “James Bond” theme and I’m not sure I’d say any of those are too good.

Finally we come to “Rockets.” This is my personal favorite of the disc. I’ve recently been in a mood for more reggae/ska in popular music. Once this song hits the noticeably reggae part it will amaze you. Brooks vocals along with the great lines by Garubaldi and Phillips guitar work will make you shake your booty. If it doesn’t make you move, then check your pulse as you may be dead.

Bemusingly, when one lifts out the CD there is a little message to the owner of the CD stating, “This music is our gift to you. Please support our grassroots movement by spreading the word. We encourage you to burn a copy of this disk for everyone you know.” This statement makes me feel good to be a musician again. It lets me know that there are still a few bands out there just wanting to rock out and have people enjoy their music.  Sure, giving away your music for free doesn’t pay the bills but rest assured, after hearing this group of songs you’ll have to see them live. I’ll tell you this, they pull it off just as well if not better live.

Simeon Soul Charger can be found online at http://simeonsoulcharger.com/. All of their songs off this release can be downloaded freely from that site. I suggest you check it out. The only thing you may lose is your time but I highly doubt that you’ll mind after hearing this.

-V-