Bastards of Soul’s Give It Right Back begins at the end.
The nine-track collection, which marks the Dallas soul band’s final studio album, dropping Nov. 17, leads off with one of the last songs the late Chadwick Murray wrote.
Murray, the former frontman and singer-songwriter for the band, penned “This Love,” for his wife Hannah, but, cruelly, never got the chance to record it before his untimely death at age 45 in September 2021.
The voice you hear caressing Murray’s lyrics is Keite Young’s, who the surviving members of Bastards of Soul (Holt, Danny Balis, Chad Stockslager and Matt Trimble) tapped to help complete the song. It is, quite simply, one of the most devastating, and devastatingly beautiful pieces of music you’re likely to hear this year.
“The hardest part, putting [Give It Right Back] together at the end was just how incomplete it was,” said Chris Holt, guitarist, singer-songwriter, and co-founding member of Bastards of Soul during a recent conversation. “We had so many songs that we had started work on. … We definitely knew we wanted to do ‘This Love,’ because that was the most important song to Chadwick especially. That was something he wanted more than anything.
Back, the follow-up to last year’s edgy, funky, and potent Corners, is a coda of sorts, rather than the ambitious, string-laden expansion of the band’s sound the third album might have otherwise been.
“That’s the way we look at it now — like this is a coda, because when Corners came out, we had to figure out what to do, and we couldn’t figure out what to do,” Holt said. “To me, it feels like let’s put it out there. There’s a lot to say about it.”
Unlike the release of Corners, Bastards of Soul will mark Back’s arrival in more subdued fashion, with a listening party set for Nov. 17 at the Alamo Drafthouse Cedars, where the record will play in full, and clips from director Paul Levatino’s forthcoming documentary on the band will be shown.
While time has helped heal some of the raw emotions the band feels about Murray’s untimely passing, there’s still a poignancy to the closing of this chapter.
In that sense, it is altogether fitting that the first words anyone hears on Give It Right Back are about love — a verbalization of the sheer happiness so plainly radiating from every note Holt and his bandmates play.
“Whenever I hear those songs now … I don’t hear any of the disagreements or any of the frustrations or any of the tragedy — I hear the joy in the music,” Holt said. “A year ago, if you’d asked me, I would’ve been like, ‘I can’t even listen, because it’s still fresh.’ That kind of stuff stays with you for a while, but I’m glad that now at least enough time has passed that we can talk about it again. We can listen to the music again. I’m able to do that, and enjoy it.”
Give It Right Back album release party at Alamo Drafthouse Cedars, Dallas. 6 p.m. Nov. 17. Tickets are $12.
Preston Jones is a North Texas freelance writer and regular contributor to KXT. Email him at [email protected] or find him on X (@prestonjones). Our work is made possible by our generous, music-loving members. If you like how we lift up local music, consider becoming a KXT sustaining member right here.