TRISTAN; Full Power (Isolde)


Tristan is a Dutch soul band and they’ve been in business since 2003 yet ‘Full Power’ is actually their first full album. The long years between  the band’s inception and this album have clearly helped the group to hone and polish their sound because what they offer on ‘Full Power’ is a sophisticated cocktail of soul based flavours that has hints of Incognito, the Brand New Heavies, Swing Out Sister and even Tower of Power. It clearly bears witness to hard work, commitment and respect for classic soul.

The current line up is: Lead & Backing Vocals: Evelyn Kallansee, Drums: Sebastiaan Cornelissen, Bass; Frans Vollink, Keys: Coen Molenaar, Guitars: Thomas Bekhuis, Percussion: Martin Gort and between them they cook up a quite beguiling soulful/jazzy sound at its best on the LP’s two opening cuts – the catchy builder that is ‘Keep On’ and the busy, bustling ‘Moontune’… foot tappers and head nodders both. ‘Step Into The Bright Light’ and ‘Odds To Win’ are two more great soul grooves – worth checking out by the more sophisticated and more discerning of the modern soul crew.

Don’t think though that ‘Full Power’ is all about fuel for the feet. Tristan offer much more than that. On the album’s title cut, for instance, the band really stretch out on a loose, jazzy ramble, while on the instrumental ‘Skip This’ they dip their brushes into a Caribbean palette.

The album boasts a brace of great ballads too – ‘Butterfly’ and ‘New Beginning’. The former in particular impressed and reminded me of the sunshine pop/soul peddled in the 60s by groups like the Fifth Dimension and The Friends of Distinction with maybe a side order of Rotary Connection. Clearly Tristan know their soul heritage – but they’re not precious with it. They make a 21st century music with a European flavour – but a music that has its roots in soul’s rich and varied heritage. .. little wonder that Jazz FM made ‘Full Power’ album of the week.

Watch out for an in-depth interview with Tristan very soon.

(BB) 4/5