This Joel Sarakula article was written by Matt Shore, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Zoe Anderson.
A refreshing blend of soulful pop presents itself on Sydney-born Joel Sarakula’s second album ‘The Imposter,’ following his well received 2013 debut, ‘The Golden Age.’ Although a relative newcomer, Sarakula has been a regular live performer, appearing on numerous festival line-ups, and has recorded his latest work in studios around the world, including London, where he now resides. ‘The Imposter’ provides a well rounded and varied list of tracks, and hopes to be Sarakula’s ticket into the mainstream.
‘The Imposter’ is warm and inviting straight from the off, with the happy tones of ‘They Can’t Catch Me’ setting the listener up for the rest of the album: “So high but I won’t come down.” While this could be considered safe, it charms while leaving a sense of mystery as to what the following tracks might entail. It also differs greatly from the next two offerings, the soulful, punchy bassline and intelligently used instrumentals of ‘When The Summer Ends’ coupling with the slower, dream-like, psychedelia infused ‘Hypnotised’ to create a varied opening.
There are other positives too; Sarakula’s track listing provides a well balanced mix of tempos throughout, resulting in an experience that never once dips or becomes too over-indulgent. The songs ‘Coralie’ and ‘Happy Alone’ provide emotional depth, while the older styles heard throughout the album each compliment the contemporary aspects of Sarakula, and therefore demonstrate his skill. This can be found most prominently on the song ‘Northern Soul,’ capturing the fast tempo and heavy, repetitive beat of the style the song is named after, while providing a modern spin. Indeed Joel Sarakula’s website describes the track, arguably the stand-out from the album, as “a driving turn through retro-soul stylings that reflects his love of the genre.”
The only negative here is that occasionally, the impressive use of instruments leaves Sarakula’s voice somewhat lacking, but it is a minor point compared to the accomplishments of the album.
Overall, ‘The Imposter’ is very much a contemporary album infused with an old soul, utilising a few different styles as a groundwork to build his album, a modern love letter to a time gone by. As well as the obvious nods to soul, smaller hints of disco and psychedelia are present here, and help provide a varied and enjoyable mix of sounds, none of which feel out of place. The negatives are few and far between, and Sarakula has created a second album which is modern, but with an air of pleasant familiarity.