Since their debut CD in 1989, The Holmes Brothers have explored an earthy, bluesy soul sound with a strong influence of gospel. "Speaking in Tongues," the trio's Alligator Records debut, touches on all of the group's influences, but puts the accent on gospel. More than half of the 13 songs on "Tongues" -- including three originals -- proudly celebrate the healing powers of Jesus Christ.
Yet "Tongues," ably produced by Joan Osborne, demonstrates how effortlessly the lines between blues, soul and gospel cross. Songs like "New Jerusalem" rollick with funky, bluesy abandon. It's when they step slightly outside of the gospel form on "Homeless Child" (one of three Ben Harper covers) that they brew up an ecstatically gritty sound. Don't mind some serious testifying? "Tongues" is another fine addition to The Holmes Brothers' impressive catalog.