Alabama Shakes

Sound & Color

Written by: PP on 16/07/2015 23:33:03

Back in 2012, Alabama Shakes popped out from nowhere to release "Boys & Girls", a soul-driven classic rock album that most of all brought to mind seminal releases by Rival Sons, Led Zeppelin and arguably also Jack White. Driven by the amazingly soulful vocals of Brittany Howard, the band quickly made a name for themselves and landed a number of festival slots across Europe shortly thereafter.

For their sophomore album "Sound & Color", the band opt to move slightly further away from the definition of a conventional classic rock album, further engaging their love for soul and organs at the cost of bluesy guitar solos. For instance, opener "Sound & Color" is all about embracing soul as a defining part of the band rather than rock music, even though "Gimme All Your Love" later brings back blues rock with a bang. All of it is centered around Brittany's vocal performance, which ranges from fragile ("This Feeling") to charging forward like Michael Jackson on "Don't Wanna Fight". Curiously enough, she even throws down with punk rock on "The Greatest", which is a hyperactive garage punk song compared to the rest of the songs on the album. Usually, that would feel completely out-of-place, but throughout "Sound & Color", the band experiments with a wide array of tempos and moods. "Shoegaze", for instance, is more of a standard alternative rock tempo despite still relying heavily on soul as its main ingredient. But it's way different from the opening ballad "Sound & Color" or even from the soul-pop of "Future People".

One thing that all songs have in common is the relaxation factor. I doubt you'll be able to find an album more chilled out and laid back than "Sound & Color" in 2015. It's perfect dinner music: enough content and detail to fill out the background in a sophisticated manner suitable for fine dining while keeping things (mostly) calm and casual. Does that mean it's not a music enthusiast's album? Absolutely not. The amount of passion, conviction and urgency in Brittany's voice means there are plenty of layers of depth to be discovered with a good pair of headphones. Just listen to the manic rage of "Miss You" during its chorus, and observe it's references to roots rock in the process.

Much like its predecessor, "Sound & Color" offers a bridge between two worlds: soul and classic rock. Few bands do it as convincingly as Alabama Shakes.

Download: Sound & Color, Don't Wanna Fight, The Greatest, Future People, Miss You
For the fans of: Father John Misty, Jack White,
Listen: Facebook

Release date 22.04.2015
Rough Trade

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