Soul Doctor –  Matt Oestreicher (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

What do you do when you find that you are not practicing what you preach? This was the dilemma facing Matt Oestreicher as he spent his days mentoring kids on how to aim higher and follow their dreams whilst realising that he wasn’t pursuing his own. Although an accomplished musician and working alongside many notable and name artists he was yet to record and release his own music and it was this epiphany that led to his own album, Dream The Word New. seeing the light of day.

As a taste of what music comes out of him when he is at the helm, Soul Doctor is a rousing slice of 80’s infused soulful pop-rock, charged with a similar infectiousness to Hall and Oates commercial heyday and brandishing the same potential to cross genres and reach a wide audience. Enough jazz chops to keep the discerning urbanites happy, a dash of rock to drive things along, smooth soul vibes and a whole bag of pop addictiveness and it’s hard to think who wouldn’t find plenty to love here.

Explore a little further and you find that his songwriting goes off down some interesting pathways, and the title track of the aforementioned album has that same spaciousness and warm, drifting textures of Don Henley’s post-Eagles singles. Human Anymore blends some wonderful rock ballad dynamics with an unexpectedly philosophical debate about what mankind’s role even is in the modern creative world.

It’s a sound that is timeless really and whilst such a style of music was best represented by a decade that seems to get a bad press, this is music that reminds us that not only were things not as bad as modern culture vultures would have us believe but also that there is still room today for music that is confident, groovesome, uncynical, overtly joyous and still finds room to explore some interesting subjects without loosing sight of the point of making such music in the first place.

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