Once in a while a record comes along that knocks you sideways. Once in a while a record comes along that isn’t just about flailing around like dying fish, furiously howling at the injustice of having to tidy your bedroom once in a while. Once in a while a record comes along that reaffirms your faith in the power of exemplary musicianship allied to great songs.
Readers, here is one of those records.
Blues Pills’ self-titled debut album arrives with such self-confidence and chutzpah that you could be forgiven that they had been ploughing this particular furrow of blues rock for decades and were at the peak of their career rather than at the start. Following two EPs released on Kadavar Records (in 2012 and 2013, respectively), a move to Nuclear Blast has seen the band deliver this first full length offering. And what an offering! Blues Pills is not so much the sound of a band stepping up to the plate, it is the sound of a band knocking it out of the proverbial park.
Blues Pills is a brilliant and, at times, sensational record. Right from the off with the throat- grabbing, blues-soaked power of ‘High Class Woman’ through the mellow, folk inspired ‘River’ to the heritage cap-doffin cover of ‘Gypsy’ and the rich, haunting coda of ‘Little Sun’, this is a record with depth and breadth, soul and humanity. Clearly a band in love with Cream and Jimi Hendrix, there is also more than a spoonful of lovin’ here for early Fleetwood Mac both in compositional style and lyrical prowess.
Lead vocalist Elin Larsson has done a terrific job here, simultaneously sounding haunted, passionate and heartfelt. However, all of the band turn in stellar performances, the thumping, soul packed bass-lines of Zack Anderson , the mellifluous drumming of Cory Berry or the patchouli oil soaked guitar licking of Dorian Sorriaux all add up to a heady brew that intoxicates as much as it invigorates.
What truly impresses though is that Blues Pills is more than the sum of its considerable parts. The band have succeeded in creating a record that you can easily and willingly immerse yourself in, a record that understands and curates its heritage and lineage but is fresh, contemporary and massively memorable.
This is the record that you’ll be recommending to your friends for months to come.