The ambition of Glen Galloway and the music of Soul Junk is something that always sends me reeling. Starting out in Trumans Water and then operating far under the radar for the last fourteen years, Soul Junk has been onto something and 1959 is yet another progression of Galloway’s creative vision to duplicate the sublimely psychedelic sounds that ruminate in his head on a daily basis. This time around Galloway offers up a mix of vintage Soul Junk tunes (and some new routes) fused with his overdubbed layered reading and singing of the Psalms. (Yep, the Psalms.)
Even though the album bears the subtitle Psalms 1-23, 1959 and any Soul Junk album is by no means whatsoever your average church music and I wouldn’t even call it Christian music as most of us know it, for both the secular and church music camps have never been quite sure of where to exactly place Soul Junk in their collective jukebox. And for the sake of context and describing this record, I thought of how the Bible has been interpreted through the centuries and during the last fifty years since the birth of rock and roll. The monks had their chanting, there’s the soul and gospel music of the south and of course there’s country music and bluegrass that both have inherent religious inspirations and the power to bring you to your knees. I could go on in that vein but the bottom line is that after my first of several trips through 1959 I will certainly never read or look at Bible, especially the Psalms, in the same way ever again.
As crazy as it sounds, with 1959 Galloway has begun to release a series of albums during which he plans to explore the verbatim reading of the Bible and take that recording and funnel it through the psychedelic nozzle that has produced previous mind-altering and genre-blending records 1956, 1957 and 1958, all of which include chunks and shards of hip hop, rock, noise rock, techno, and spastic free-verse rhymes that have turned many a churchgoer on his ear or made them completely cover it in utter confusion and disdain.
In 23 brief tracks (and a few longer ones) this album packs so many emotions — joy, rage, worship, bliss, uncertainty, fear, to name a few — and loads of sonic textures and somehow makes it accessible without alienating either crowd regardless of personal creed. If you’re thinking of clicking away because of the fact that we’re talking about Bible-based music then you’ll be missing out on some of extremely inventive tunes and might as well toss a good portion of your own music collection in the trash.
Like Soul Junk, 1959 has many stylistic faces and I’ll wager a large sum of cash that you won’t find the beats and melodies on here flowing from most church worship services any time soon as the Galloway’s melodic interpretation of the Good Book turns an excellent fuzzy nod to Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound with a 21st century tweaking. To get more in depth explanations about the background of Soul Junk and 1959 and how he also creates music for commercials check out the interview with Glen Galloway.
Soul Junk: www.souljunk.com