WHERE: Rough Trade Records
WHERE: Rough Trade Records
With all this talk of “rock and roll being dead” and guitars not being the “hip thing” in music no more it sure seems like a lot of bands missed the memo lately. With established acts such as Arctic Monkeys and Queens Of The Stone Age flying the flag by waving it as hard as their guitar-riff-enhanced boners, there has been a nice little influx of newbies coming forth to brandish their stubby little rock-ons too. Last year saw the rise of Royal Blood, and this year we have Alabama Shakes. In 2012 the four piece from…Alabama dropped a wonderful debut album in the form of Boys & Girls which featured a whole load of great tracks, and now three years/performing at the White House/touring relentlessly later they return with Sound & Colour. Dicks ‘n all.
While Boys & Girls sounded youthful and hurried in delivering its goodies, this second album sounds a lot more assured, and reveals its goodies when it feels the timing is perfect. Like a naughty little minx. Alabama Shakes allow some extra moments of silence to creep in throughout this record, whether it be by making certain bluesy sounds stand out or by building suspense for the most wonderful of payoffs, creating a record that is bolder, much more confident and for the sake of continuity, the biggest boner yet. Sure there are straight up rock tunes in the form of the singles Don’t Wanna Fight and Gimme All Your Love which sound fantastic and truly deliver the riffs when they’re needed, but the record’s greatest moments lie within the quieter cuts. This Feeling in particular really lets the Alabama side of things shine through with frontwoman Brittany Howard’s vocals as always sounding unbelievably good, while the instrumentation succeeds in producing something sweet and emotive.
The band changes up their sound in all manner of ways throughout Sound & Colour too. The old-school Dunes leaks with rhythm and groove which adds a new element to the bluesy sound, while Guess Who loops its way through the airwaves and The Greatest sounds like this album’s Month Of May moment. Variety doesn’t end there as the near seven minute Gemini sets up a possible progression for Alabama Shakes as they incorporate layered vocals and heavily echoed sounds to create a rather psychedelic affair, before closing track Over My Head rounds off the album nicely.
Sound & Colour is another fantastic album from Alabama Shakes. It has everything we loved about Boys & Girls inside but adds a little experimentation to it while fortunately succeeds many, many times. These guys are pretty darn good, and we’re sure they can start waving their own flag now. For more music reviews, free downloads and boner waving check out Exploding Head Syndrome on Facebook and Twitter.