Gritty, pretty East Coast soul‑rock.
The sacred and the rocking seem to alternate in the hearts of New Jersey friends Jonah Tolchin and Kevin Clifford, whose debut together mixes Biblical imagery with soulful grace and electric guitar raunch.
‘I don’t know how it feels to be pushed back on my heels by a man with a gun,’ Tolchin sings on
Bless Your Children, a heartfelt, thoughtful prayer in the face of atrocities and injustice. Beatles-eque keyboards precede a guitar and female co-singer wailing on this exemplary slice of neo-soul-rock.
The title track starts as crunching Stones truck-stop blues, and ends with the band hammering Hammond and cymbals, rampaging and resplendent. Open Your Heart matches an exultant, dirty squall of guitar with Tolchin’s pretty, gospel-soul pleading. The instrumentation and attitude update the brief interchangeability of rock, soul, funk and jazz as the 1960s became the 1970s, before fusion became a dirty word.