The up-and-coming band, Hard Soul, from Albany NY is about to release their first full-length LP, Heart of Plaster. The band has been diligently gigging and recording since their formation in 2011. Hard Soul’s short history has included many shows in upstate and central NY as well as the release of two singles, “Love Eat the Young” in 2012 and “Seize the Year” in 2013. On April 8th, Hard Soul is releasing their new album and will be celebrating at their release party at The Low Beat in Albany on the 11th, which will also start off their 2014 tour season.
Hard Soul’s versatile sound can only be attributed to the dedicated musicians that make up this Pop/Punk Rock quartet. Music on their new album ranges from a heavy, up-beat hard rock, celebrating the pure fact of being alive, to quiet acoustic songs recalling life’s mistakes that we can all relate to. The group’s sound is very reminiscent of the punk-skater music that became popular in the late 90’s and mid 2000’s. Hard Soul’s lyrics are those that people of all ages can relate to, but would definitely be more favorable to teenage ears. Similar to bands like Green Day and Blink 182, Hard Soul has a raw, uncut feeling that holds nothing back in expressing the struggles and trying times in life that make us question our very existence.
Hard Soul’s talented members have written, played, and produced the entire album themselves with the help of Steven Goldman at Four Legs Records in Washingtonville, NY. Front-man Johnny Salka is the beating heart of the band. Not only did Salka produce the album, but he also provides vocals and lead guitar, which is a large part of what gives Hard Soul their appealing sound. Helping out are Nick Kossor on lead and rhythm guitar and Ryan Klaeysen on bass. And last, but certainly not least, is drummer Mark Podbielskim, who ensures that your foot won’t stop moving till the album is finished.
Heart of Plaster starts off with a track titled “Let Go!” and serves as a perfect opener to kick off their debut album. It starts off with a no-holds-barred driving rhythm intro accompanied by a public service announcement calling everyone to attention for “an important announcement.” The songs talks about the urge that everyone has known, where you just feel the need to escape from the real world and take time to figure out who you really are. Its high energy is a perfect vessel for the message to just let it all go and be yourself. The album’s big hit and popular music video, “Just Be Love,” is another fast tempo tune with a positive message. The song recalls the trials and tribulations of being “young and dumb” and reminds the listener that through it all, when you may be most conflicted, to “just be love.” The music video is the full band in a small room, with a crowd of loyal fans in the background dancing their hearts out to a tune they all love. The album’s tenth and last song, exemplifies the band’s stellar musicianship, versatility, and range of emotion that Hard Soul can evoke. “Sincerely” is an enduring eight-minute ballad that evolves from a solemn acoustic opening into a heart-wrenching electric guitar section that sends chills down the spine. This final track begs to know whether the love that singer-songwriter Salka has been feeling is real. He swears he will be fine with whatever answer he is given, but you know by the tone of his voice that heartbreak surely awaits him. All he wants to know is if she is sincere or if this feeling he has is nothing more than a fading memory.
Key Tracks: Let Go!, Just Be Love, Sincerely