Before diving beneath The Crown Jules by House of Delay & The Crown Jules glittering gold cover album cover, we should take a moment to appreciate that this soul album hails from Iceland. I don’t get to write that often enough. Soul music remains rare within Iceland’s rock and pop culture, yet it has still spawned superb bands and artists such as Moses Hightower, Júníus Meyvant and Kenya & Nemor.
House of Delay & The Crown Jules (The Crown Jules is also the moniker of the lead singer Júlíus E. Júlíusson) finally return our attention to the nordic island with their debut 7-track soulful album.
The Crown Jules (the albums’ title) is soaked in the retro sound of soul. In many ways, even the production, which I’ll come back to, feels like a lost 60/’70s cassettes recording unearthed from a thawed block of ice. Yet, this band add a highly commendable twist with danceable house beats woven beneath adding sonic modernity.
Undoubtedly it’s the raw, emotive soulful vocals of The Crown Jules that define this band.
His singing style (all songs are in English) brightens each track with a vintage soul glow, layering it with deep emotional reverb. A perfect example is Me. From the intro, The Crown Jules’s rich soul voice captivates. Underpinned his vocals is an excellent house groove, fluttering guitar chords and a twinkling keys solo. A 5-minute delight!
Tracks such as; Fake Up, Diamonds and Gold, certainly satisfied, and the house groove of the glowing Shining Eyes, in particular, stands out.
Nevertheless, the overall presentation of the tracks lacks a cohesive oompf. The arrangements and songs satisfy, like With You and Don’t know; however, it’s the production that echoes like a studio composition.
The song Heaven craves some meaty depth, and I’m sure Swedish DJ Opolopo would enjoy filling out the bassline here with a solid house/dance groove at some point.
As much as I try I can’t move past the mix and it’s a real shame. A little polish here and The Crown Jules would really shine.
The Crown Jules - House of Delay & The Crown Jules
Icelandic band get soulful with house music! The concept works with great vocals and arrangement, however, it just required a tweak to make this solid gold.