Taking pages from period Bob Dylan, Americana roots Rock ‘n’ Roll, gospel, and blues is what It’s Not How Far You Fall, It’s the Way You Land is all about. As in Howl from Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, the re-route into a form of music not often paid much attention in these last few decades, is a risky gamble. You may be critically adored for it but it often does not generate much in the way of fan support. However, it does heighten your credentials amongst serious rock n roll fans who love the influences and adaptations at play here.
A work like It’s Not How Far You Fall, It’s The Way You Land, is very difficult to review properly, because there is so much going on within it. Moving from moments of the darkest of despair to the most uncontrollable of lusts, the album lays bare the heart of man in lyrics and music, making it unforgettable.
There’s a certain terminal scrape of the soul that reaches deep into dark territories, that place inside of us that no one reveals to anyone. It is an anguished cry immersed in Baptist-like gospel and a basic bluesy Rock. It is, at times, Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, and at times unique, but it is always compelling. The components of Soulsavers are joined by Screaming Trees singer, Mark Lanegan on what is easily one of the year’s better works. Like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s earlier masterpiece, Howl, Soulsavers’ album is an excellent foray into historical musical styles.
The album begins with the Bob Dylan-like “Revival,” the album moves along to produce the Cohen-like “The Ghost of You and Me” with a dash of electonica, an uncontrollable lust in “Paper Money,” and the 4-walled confessional of “Spiritual,” a moment of stark exposure and emptiness. Soulsavers do an excellent job on their cover of Neil Young’s “Through My Sails.” One of the album’s crowning moments comes in the last song, the cover of The Rolling Stones' “No Expectations”; hang around for the outro as the music begins again after a bit to close out the song and the album. There are no filler or throwaway tracks on the album.
It’s Not How Far You Fall, It’s How You Land is easily one of the year’s great releases in nearly every way. The masses won’t like it as it is too “weird” for them although I challenge them to spend some time with it. It will be a favourite among music lovers who have no qualms about leaning in. As for me, not only do I love this album (I haven’t been able to remove it from my player) but I also look forward to hearing Soulsavers’ next album.