Showing posts with label alabama shakes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label alabama shakes. Show all posts

Saturday, December 12, 2015

video review: 'sound & color' by alabama shakes

Well, this took way too long to get out.

Next up, another record I missed a few months ago that also got nominated for a fair few Grammys, so stay tuned!

album review: 'sound & color' by alabama shakes

You know, for as much as I say I like blues rock, I don't really cover a lot of it. And for the past few weeks I've been wondering why and I think my answer is that I've got a very specific type of blues rock I enjoy. Dark, moody but with strong hooks, dirty production but not so fuzzed out and lo-fi that you lose the deeper textures, a solid sense of groove, and writing that can rise above some of the unfortunate cliches of the genre. And when you hold so much of it to a high standard like that, you tend to find a lot of bands don't really hold up as well as you'd like.

Take, for instance, Alabama Shakes - although, yes, you could definitely make the argument they're more soul than blues rock, which the band is always canny to sidestep. Now I was planning on covering Sound & Color months ago - the critical reviews were suggesting it was a great record from an upstart act with one hell of a frontwoman in Brittany Howard. But when I dug up their debut album... well, it wasn't that it was bad but I was definitely underwhelmed. Part of this was production that really could have afforded to give them a little more texture and crunch, part of it was writing I didn't think was all that stellar, and part of it was compositions that frankly weren't pushing anything. It was a reasonably solid release and again, Brittany Howard can sing her ass off, but I wouldn't go any further than that.

So fast-forward to now, and Alabama Shakes' sophomore debut has apparently won so much critical acclaim it's up for a Grammy. Now it's not going to win that Grammy - all the signs speak to either Kendrick Lamar or Taylor Swift winning for Album of the Year - but it was enough to think that maybe I hadn't given this band a fair shake. So I decided to dig up Sound & Color and try again - what did we get?