THE PRINCIPLES OF JOY is one of France’s top soul outfits. The band have been together since  2017  and are led by keyboardist Ludo Bors (who’s also known by the lovely moniker, Norman Smuggler!) Monsieur Bors/Smuggler also writes the material and owns the label, Q Sounds, to which the Principles are pacted.

At the back end of last year, they announced an “imminent” album and that album (their third) with the ambitious title, ‘It’s Soul That  Counts’ has just been released. The album has been flagged up by a couple of singles. The first was  a big, tough, feisty cover of Sharon Jones’ ‘Your Thing Is A Drag’ (which first appeared on her 2005 LP, ‘Naturally’).That was followed  by a stark,  soulful groove, ‘I Was Wrong’. Both highlighted the passion and power of twin lead singers Rachel Yarabou and  Sarah Ibrahim. Both have outstanding voices.

Those two singles anchor the ten tracker and deliver two very different soul shadings – tight funk and melancholic balladeering. The album offers plenty more. ‘All That Counts’ and ‘What Did You mean’ veer in a Northern soul direction, ‘Tale Of The Ghetto’ and ‘No Justice No Peace’ offer food for thought while ‘Soulmate’ is a sweet ballad. The highlight however is the big, beaty ‘Girls Be Like’. Energy-packed, this has just a touch of Philly/Motown about it – but it’s a lot tougher, rougher even!  It’s a good ‘un and totally justifies the album title!