Imagine a band that sounds like a cross between Fleetwood Mac, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Jefferson Starship (sans keyboards) and Wishbone Ash – that is Blues Pills.
And with a singer who could reasonably be compared with Janis Joplin or Tina Turner, were it not for her ability to immerse herself down in the ice-cool contralto range. Akin to Cher.
The best comparison is London’s St. Jude (with Lynne Jackaman up front), but in Blues Pills there seems to be an ever-more-urgent set of tasks to perform.
It’s as if every musician here needs to put in as much effort as humanly possible. The energy is ridiculous!
The debut album was released on Nuclear Blast this week. And we had a listen:
The record begins with ‘High Class Woman’ – this is quick and insolent.
With guitars that stand super smooth and vascular (and will remind you of Wishbone Ash.)
They grow quick as arrowroot – bold and proud.
We’re suckers for fuzzy wah-wah – especially if there is a slice of “wacka-wacka” too!
So we loved ‘Jupiter’ especially that sizzling hot guitar from Dorian and the way that Elin spits out the ‘T’ in “Jupiter.”
The guitar-work on this track reminded us of Martin Barre (guitarist for Jethro Tull) – slightly free in style – slightly psychedelic – so hot and spicy it burns the skin.
‘Black Smoke’ is going to be one of the favourite songs from the album.
This song steps along as slowly as a cortège – but soon it burns bright like a firecracker.
‘Astraplane’ is certainly gonna take you back to very early Fleetwood Mac.
The rhythm comes in stern, manly steps. And the fiddleheaded vocals are scorched with corruption around the edges.
The slower songs, like ‘Little Sun’ (with its incredibly hypnotic drum-work) create beautiful tiffany-mounts for the vocals.
The slower, less furious songs, also seem to show-off the cleavage and lustre of Elin Larsson’s multi-faceted voice.
We have only one – very slight – criticism … it is that the guitar constantly stirs and rummages.
Like a whole pack of hungry prairie dogs – it is constantly nagging, biting, worrying and fussing. Hungry for more marrow. There is not a moment’s respite.
And, at first, we were also going to comment that there are not enough riffs packed into this collection. We thought we needed a little ‘stability’ and some relief from all that furiously swinging guitar.
But, after another listen of the album, we remembered that this is the blues. And it doesn’t need riffs to make it work.
It needs blood and sadness. Pain and release.
And there’s plenty of that here.
Forget the riffs. This is magnificent.
@neilmach © 2014