Midnight is the first solo album by Grace Potter.
It is also the first release since she and her band The Nocturnals released their “Lion The Beast And The Beat” disc back in 2012.
Although, it’s true, the vocalist and multi-instrumentalist has been busy. As well as creating this album, she has also appeared on Gov’t Mule’s album Shout! recorded in 2013 — providing lead vocals for the song “Whisper In Your Soul” — and she opened for The Rolling Stones in June, this year.
Potter is well-known for her high-quality, thought-provoking vocals — eliciting comparisons with great blues singers like Janis Joplin or Koko Taylor.
This new album, however, seems to be a bit of a departure — towards bright and cheerful rock territory.
We had a listen to Midnight:
The album starts with ‘Hot To the Touch’ — At first this comes across like the lively melody of a racy Bond theme tune.
The vocals are breathy and sexy-sparkling. The whole damn thing bubbles and spits uncontrollably — like burning sausages on the grill.
But, hidden beneath all the sophistry, charm and the super-smart production, this is quite an old and (if we may say so) familiar-sounding rock ‘n’ roll number. It’s OK. But it won’t blow a hole in your heart!
‘Alive Tonight’ has a similar chugging riff. The production is great and the voice is flame-haired and inspired by strong emotions.
We could not help thinking, though, that it sounded like a Eurovision Song Contest crowd-pleaser. With that over-friendly, sing-over, comb-over chorus.
‘Empty Heart’ starts with an acoustic guitar and some gleeful handclaps. Reminding us of vintage Kinks.
This is one of the only numbers on the album that actually utilises the bewitching brew of strength, grit and fortitude that only Potter can tempt us with. She offers up her whisky-soaked voice and her frisky jig. And it’s all we can do to stop ourselves leaping for joy. Yes, this is a swinger and a swayer… And we loved it!
‘Delirious’ could be a song from any Madonna album. It has that same atmosphere. Redolent of the eighties and proud of its plastic finish. Red shoes, lipgloss and strutting fashion triangles.
Of course, it’s all about 1980’s right now. So we have more brightly coloured synth-work on ‘Instigators’. This is our favourite number, really. And it is quite heavy. It’s as if Joan Jett had decided to perform a La Roux number. Naturally, there is also a touch of blues still there, hidden deep. (If you search hard enough you might find it.) We discovered traces of “John the Revelator.”
This new album is hopeful, positive and appealing.
Grace Potter has still got an aura about her. Agreed.
But will this record be influential?
Well, that’s another story…
And, is it strong enough to be able to attract avid fans back?
That seems unlikely.
Words: @neilmach 2015 ©