Album Review: Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal – Natural Born Hustler

The Color Red label has quickly and effectively established itself as the home of current-day retro-soul/boogaloo, issued on good ol’ vinyl. Some of the artists – Color Red’s founder Eddie Roberts, for example – are well-known. Others, like Josh Hoyer, less so. The thing is, Color Red’s track record is such that I’m more than inclined to check out a new (or new-to-me) artist if said artist has the label’s effective seal of approval.

Lucky me. Because this album is rock solid. With a voice that reminds ever-so-slightly of David Clayton-Thomas (Blood Sweat & Tears) crossed with a less histrionic Joe Cocker, Hoyer is a commanding presence. And the band is, in a word, supatight.

It’s not all beefy, fur-on-the-floor music, either. The aptly-titled “Whisper” is a sultry slow burn that underscores the fact that subtlety can speak loudly. There’s a Southern soul/pop vibe to these songs, one that suggests Stax/Hi influence, but in its execution, the music doesn’t ape the tropes or sonic cues of Memphis (great and immortal as they may be). Time spent with this album will be rewarding.