In 2009, the Heavy Light label released Don't Let Me Fall, a compilation of three obscure singles and five previously unreleased songs by the Relatives -- a group from Dallas, Texas that formed in 1970 and fused gospel, funk, and psychedelic soul. During their initial run, the Relatives opened for the Staple Singers and the Five Blind Boys of Mississippi. It wouldn't be surprising to learn that they shared a stage with the Rance Allen Group or once opened for Parliament/Funkadelic. The anthology provoked the Relatives, led by reverends and brothers Gean and Tommie West, to resume. After starring on Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears' "You Been Lyin'," a highlight of 2011's Scandalous, the Relatives recorded The Electric Word, their first album. Produced by Spoon's Jim Eno and featuring ex-Black Joe Lewis guitarist Zach Ernst, The Electric Word is remarkably similar to the group's earlier recordings. The lone difference is the superior recording quality. Members swap leads and dip and dive behind one another like their chemistry has remained unchanged, and the overall sound hits hard with occasional use of reverb and guitar squalls (as on "Bad Trip"). The best case for their relevance is "What's Wrong with America," a fresh take on early rumination "Speak to Me." The raw original resembles an Impressions-inspired demo; this version has much more of its own character, and its questions could have been written in 2013. Whether howled or hushed, the material goes straight to the soul, awakens, and uplifts.