An attempt at soul that seems to have more in common with rock of the 1960s and early punk than strict soul music, Ballard’s 4-track EP (and a bonus demo song), Pancho Got Soul! is a low-tech, guitar-based offering.
Rejecting highly polished production and squeaky clean digitalised sounds, this EP has a raw honesty to it. The crunchy, slightly distorted sound works well for tracks like ‘Race Relations’, which sounds like it is being shouted through a loudhailer.
However, this dirt does get a bit trying on some of the other tracks, as it doesn’t offer much scope for a variety in sounds. The drums are very low down in the mix- especially as the vocals and guitar are so loud, and sound very loose; at times almost like a child’s toy drum set.
The songs themselves all follow a fairly set pattern, simple structures, no fancy playing, pseudo-socially relevant lyrics, and a few catchy hooks- the chorus in Race Relations is a good example of this- and a humorous take on real-life subject matter.
Overall, it’s an enjoyable album, and with a slightly tighter production, and a bit more variety in the writing, a next release could be really good.