'God Bless America', the opening track to Charles Bradley's latest record Changes, is a bold choice, especially compared to the first tracks of his previous records. Both 'Strictly Reserved' and 'The World (Is Going Up In Flames)' were early standout tracks that introduced new listeners to the raw emotion of Bradley's weathered vocals. 'God Bless America' meanwhile is far more subdued, with Bradley speaking over a quiet church organ about how the hardships he's faced have made him stronger. It hints at a more personal, introspective focus to Bradley's third record, but those worrying that the "screaming eagle of soul" might be tempering things will be pleased to know that this is just the calm before the storm of soul.

'Good To Be Back Home' takes that same church organ as part of an instrumental ensemble that incorporates sharp guitar chords and shuffling percussion, before layering in uproarious horns for a chorus that makes use of Bradley's now iconic scream. Along with tracks like 'Ain't It A Sin' and the politically-charged 'Change For The World' it captures the sheer energy of Bradley and his band, which live transforms into something close to a religious experience. 'Ain't It A Sin' is a particular highlight with its rolling drums and chorus of horns delivering stunning soul power.

It's not all electrifying rhythms though. Bradley leaves plenty of room for heart-breaking ballads ('Nobody But You' and 'Slow Love'), mournful soul ('Changes') and harmonious doo-wop ('Things We Do For Love'). All this shows the versatility not only of Bradley's backing band (a mixture of the Menahan Street Band and The Extraordinaries) but also the singer. Despite his reputation as the "screaming eagle", Bradley's vocals exude warmth and optimism as well as decades of hurt and anguish. 'Changes' in particular exemplifies this. Previously released as a Record Store Day single, this Black Sabbath cover brings out qualities of the original that we never knew were present. The power of Bradley's voice comes not just from the lyrics, but the fact that you can feel the truth of every moment he sings about.