[NEW OLD SOUL] Only a singer as joyful as Ural Thomas can truly convey the wounds of love. On his debut full-length with the Pain, the young backing band that came together three years ago to elevate the 75-year-old soulman from lost relic to local living legend, the hurt runs deep. Co-produced by L.A. musician Nick Waterhouse, whose own records are a West Coast analogue to Daptone Records' vintage productions, the album is dominated by sublime ballads aching with romantic betrayal. Thomas' graceful croon sounds right at home among the weary horns and classic arrangements of "Here Comes the Hurt" and "Feeling Bad (Since You've Gone Away)." And the bluesy "Now You Love Me," subtle Afro-Latin groove of "When I Get This Feeling" and twist-and-shout re-recording of signature weeper "Pain Is the Name of Your Game" help vary the mood musically. But Thomas doesn't get a chance to show off the grittier edges of his voice until closer "I'll Be Gone," a clap-along stomper in the mold of "Land of 1,000 Dances." (If you really want to hear him holler, a limited-edition bonus LP of remastered singles from his '60s heyday is included with the vinyl.) Not giving Thomas more opportunities to let loose is a slight misstep. We've heard the pain. Next time around, we'll hopefully get more of the pleasure.
SEE IT: Ural Thomas & the Pain play Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie Ave., with Lewi Longmire & the Left Coast Roasters, on Saturday, June 11. 8 pm. $17.50 advance, $20 day of show. Under 21 permitted with legal guardian.