THE INCITERS – Boot N Soul / Love (Your Pain Goes Deep)

Over the years, The Inciters have worked hard at injecting a real energy into a soul based sound. The ten piece band’s blend of Northern Soul coolness and mod friendly punch has thrilled audiences since the 90s, and one listen to this double pronged digital release makes it very clear why.

The lead track, ‘Boot N Soul’ wastes no time in hitting the listener squarely between the ears with a very familiar sound, augmented by a slightly more modern production. Its opening combo of solid bass, thumping rhythm and rising horn melody is born of genre purity, regardless of era. Melody wise, you’ll hear traces of ‘Gimme Some Lovin’ (Winwood), ‘In The Midnight Hour’ (Pickett/Cropper) and ‘Keep On Runnin’ (Jackie Edwards) within different elements of a terrific intro, before The Inciters branch off into their own direct take on a classic sound. A broad lead vocal soars above a choppy guitar and swirling organ, bigging up a mod influence, and soon enough those great horns return to augment a strong chorus where a slightly angst driven refrain is boosted further by underplayed gang vocals. With the same sequence repeating for a second verse, listeners get a great opportunity to familiarise themselves with the strong melody before a final horn-led refrain beefs up a climax. And in the same direct manner in which this tune arrives, it stops dead, just shy of three minutes. It’s a perfect take on an old fashioned track in this respect, but it’ll certainly leave listeners wanting more.

Dropping into a more melodic groove – although no less direct in terms of riffs – ‘Love (Your Pain Goes Deep)’ pushes Michael Luke’s bass to the fore, and the funk driven bottom end stands alone throughout most of the verses, throwing out punchy notes with ease, whilst an understated baritone sax occasionally parps in a way that adds extra depth. Against this uncluttered arrangement, the lead vocal slips effortlessly into a sultry croon, recapturing those aching soul ballads of the late 60s, showing how The Inciters’ affinity with retro sounds isn’t just limited to those floor filling bangers akin to this release’s “a-side”. Add a well placed harmony vocal or three, an understated guitar twang that takes a cue or two from Steve Cropper but has just enough of its own tone to stand alone and – eventually – a stronger, horn led musical hook, and this slow burning tune builds into something that compliments ‘Boot N Soul’ brilliantly.

There are a lot of great Inciters tunes out there already, but this double whammy is up there with their best work, adding more gold to an already strong legacy. Two songs, five minutes, pretty much the yin/yang of the Inciters’ sound, and a b-side that’s almost as good as the lead track. You couldn’t ask for more from such a small package. This calls back to those great 7” singles of yesteryear with a couple of near perfect takes, and is certainly a release you won’t want to miss.

October 2023