Genre: Hard Rock/Blues Rock/Psychedelic Rock
Released by: Nuclear Blast
Release date: 5th August 2016
Elin Larsson – Vocals
Dorian Sorriaux – Guitars
Zach Anderson – Bass Guitar
Andre Kvarnstrom – Drums/Percussion
- Lady in Gold
- Little Boy Preacher
- Burned Out
- I Felt a Change
- Gone so Long
- Bad Talkers
- You Gotta Try
- Won’t Go Back
- 10. Elements and Things
My introduction to Blues Pills came about when they opened on the second day of the Ramblin Man Fair in 2015. A wet and dismal day which seen most people running for cover, I was surprised they managed to draw and retain the crowd but after (despite the elements) I had listened to their set in its entirety it wasn’t hard to see why.
Their self titled debut album which I hastily acquired was released in July 2014 and was massively well received so I imagine this follow up has been eagerly anticipated for some time…
The fantastic opener – the albums namesake “Lady in Gold” is a fast moving punchy tune, it barely kicks off before Elin Larssons’ amazingly powerful vocals dominate the track. It occurs to me, not for the first time, that she sings with such soulful passion and gumption that her voice is of the calibre that could carry on its own with no music and still have the same striking impact. However, that said, the music is superb throughout, likewise the backing vocals towards the end and I repeated this song about 3 or 4 times before moving on…
Moving on (eventually) to track two, “Little Boy Preacher” has the essence of a 60’s soul classic but with a definitive modern twist. Vocally and musically excellent, elements of gospel in keeping with the ethos of the song serve to enhance it further still.
The melodic guitar at the start of “Burned Out” is indelibly haunting before the tempo is upped and the song melds into a faster paced rhythm. Featuring amazing vocals and poignant lyrics, in my opinion, the undeniable talent of guitarist Dorian Sorriaux is best demonstrated in this fantastic track.
I confess “I Felt a Change” threw me. Although Blues Pills have a distinct classic rock/blues sound going on – and this is one of the reasons they appeal to me so much, this track just sounds too dated to sit well with the edginess of the rest of the album. A fantastic song in its own right and an amazing example of vocal strength and versatility I can’t help but think I would skip this one and listen to it at a different time…in a different mood.
“Gone so long” is like a crescendo, slow burning and suspenseful, I felt like the music would break and twist into something entirely different. Although it didn’t quite work out as I was anticipating, the vocals growing ever stronger throughout the track and the heavier percussion towards the end cemented my opinion that this is one of the best tracks on the album.
Zach Anderson on bass and Andre Kvarnstrom on drums maintain a consistent background rhythm on “Elements and Things” which is bordering on ritualistic. An unbelievable hard hitting, hard rocking display of talent from this Swedish 4 piece that ticks all the boxes for me. This track feels like it’s going to spill over into something beyond amazing…and it does. Fantastic lyrics, mind blowing vocals, excellent riffs and increasingly heavy drumming combine to make this my favourite song on this release. It is also – perhaps strategically placed, the final track.
Due for release on 5th August 2016, there will also be a 2 Disc Limited Edition Featuring “Lady in Gold” on Disc 1 and the band Live in Berlin on Disc 2.
This is an exceptional follow up album which finishes as it started, if you can finish that is, I’m finding it quite difficult to stop playing it…
Review: Karen Hetherington