No Place Like Soul is Soulive's seventh full-length (eight if you count the remixed Turn It Out), and the band's debut for Concord's then-recently birthed Stax label. The longstanding instrumental trio has reinvented itself by adding a fourth member in vocalist Toussaint from Boston (former frontman of the reggae outfit China Band). On Breakout, the band used guest vocalists such as Chaka Khan, Ivan Neville, and Corey Glover to further diversify its sound, but Toussaint (son of a Baptist preacher and former church choir leader) is an equal member of the ensemble. The sound is gritty, nasty, and pumped up on most of the set's 13 cuts. While Soulive had matured in their previous incarnation perhaps as far as they were going to, the addition of a permanent singer finds them back in the cradle, learning how to rebalance their sound with an additional wheel. The results are mixed, and that's not a bad thing at all. While it roars out of the gate with the funk-drenched "Waterfall" with Eric Krasno's guitar dirtying up the joint, it's rooted more in the nastiness of Southern soul than Funkadelic. Where the vocal dredges up the grit and grease and meets the organ fills, organic breaks, and wah-wah guitar head on "Don't Tell Me," the volume (and adrenaline) rush is less effective, however, with the band's shoddy backing vocals and the instrumental rave-up so full-on it nearly feels like an organ playing with Living Colour and a different vocalist. It's got a stuttered rock-cum-New Orleans groove that feels stilted by the production, though it might work well live.