Eric Lindell’s return to Chicago’s Alligator Records finds him in a soulful state of mind. Most of Revolution in Your Heart pursues a lively neo-soul tract, with Lindell referencing 1960s and ’70s Memphis and Muscle Shoals soul. He adds undercurrents of funk, too, and veers into roots country with “Millie Kay” and Chuck Berry–style country-rock and roll with “The Sun Don’t Shine.” Recorded at one of Louisiana’s classic studios—Studio in the Country in Bogalusa—Revolution in Your Heart benefits from a warm and vibrant production. Most of the album’s dozen songs, all composed by Lindell, run compactly at less than three minutes. Co-producers Lindell and Benjamin Mumphrey keep the performances of Lindell’s well-constructed, often breezy and grooving songs straightforward.
Opening track “Shot Down” pairs animated music with lyrics about ups, downs and carrying on in the face of adversity. “Inspiration comes in many ways,” Lindell sings in an understated vocal style that recalls Prince. “It don’t always come on sunny days. Shot out the saddle on Sunday, back on top on Monday.”
Similar sentiment informs “Revolution,” an almost-ballad. “Don’t let a mindless fool get a hold of you,” Lindell advises. “You got to keep pushing and let love rule. Start a revolution in your heart.”
Nostalgia is another of the album’s themes. In “Pat West,” Lindell frames warm memories of the good old days in easygoing Southern soul. The buoyant drums and guitar riffs that accompany the nostalgic “Kelly Ridge” sound as if they were modeled on the Fats Domino classic “I’m Walkin’.” More fond remembrances surface in country-oriented “Grandpa Jim” and “Claudette.”
Everything Lindell and drummer Willie McMains bring to Revolution In Your Heart sounds good. But the unavoidably limited palette this two-man band can provide grows redundant. Because horns are so essential to classic soul, the inclusion of even a few horn arrangements in Lindell’s soul-dominated new album would have nicely enhanced the overall package.