The Congress Releases New EP – The Loft Tapes
Words & Photo By Nicholas Stock
A cover is a frame of reference a music fan shares with the band. As odd as it seems it is a starting point for critical comparison and a place to juxtapose the band against what has come before. Many bands including The Grateful Dead, Phish and even Pearl Jam understand the power of a cover as a tool to connect with their audiences. The Congress takes all this into account with their latest EP The Loft Tapes, which is their take on some very recognizable soul classics.
Since landing in Denver just a few short years ago The Congress has truly made a name for themselves. On the heels of their first full-length album Whatever You Want, just last year The Congress is again on the cusp of yet another release. This recording, which was done over the course of a week last January in Berthoud, Colorado at an old Masonic Temple, shows a level of maturity and elegance that is simply arresting. The vocals of Jonathan Meadows are front and center in the heartfelt delivery of each song. Everything just sounds right in this recording. From the simple and clean processing reminiscent of Motown style sound to the dynamic instrumentation focusing on not overplaying, The Loft Tapes are spot on. “Killing Me Softly” in particular is both fresh and nostalgic as singer Meadows has a more nuanced delivery than some of his previous studio work. Scott Lane adds fire to this track by way of his extraordinary guitar work. Their version of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” contains some amazing organ from newcomer Chris Speasmaker as well. The cover of Van Morrison’s “Into The Mystic” was the icing on the cake as far as I’m concerned.
There seems to be a renaissance of rock and soul happening now. With bands like The Fitz and the Tantrums, The Monophonics, and JC Brooks and The Uptown Band popping up across the country, it is evident there is a trend. The Congress seems to be in touch with their soulful side as well, and I look forward to seeing them work this more delicate approach into their live show. The Loft Tapes drops locally this weekend at The Congress’s first headlining show at The Bluebird Theater. The album will hit shelves nationally on April 16th, just prior to Record Store Day. Get a copy and get ready to set it on repeat.
Killing Me Softly
People Get Ready
Que Sera, sera
You’ve Got A Friend
What’s Going On
Fool For You
Into The Mystic