Friday, September 12, 2014
Album Review: Blues Pills - Blues Pills
Craftily divided into sections, each offering something interesting to focus upon, the album oozes star quality. Tracks 1 through 3 offer quick-change chord structures that ripple their way along a driving underscore which harries and hurries you along. Opener "High Class Woman" has a hard, rock-punching edge about it with fierce licks and strong hooks, whilst the excellent, groove-laden "Ain't No Change" and "Jupiter", with its mind-expanding middle-eight, ride along bluesier, walls of guitar fuzz that get you deep in the gut.
Tracks 4 through 6 mark out a welcome change of pace which brings the stunning Joplin-esque vocal of Elin Larsen to the forefront. Strong without being butch, her delivery has a sweet, rasping quality, plenty of range and a fine grasp of when to stress a lyric and when not to. So whilst the flawed yet elegiac, slide guitar number "River" stands out proudest of all, sashaying along as she enunciates each vowel, it is the friskier, slow-quick-slow rhythm and cosmic power of "Black Smoke" which speaks most clearly to the heart as well as the soul. Tracks 7-9 begins the steady build back up to speed with the swing of "Devil Man" bringing some much needed fire, "Astralplane" loading up on blues, and Chubby Checker-cover "Gypsy" punching every majestic note out with joyous delight. Throughout these and into the album closer, the simple sustained sweeps of retro kingpins Graveyard (who they share a producer with) show their face placing that chronological marker upon the Swedish quartet.
Offering something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue, whatever your taste, this is an impressive debut that should, by all accounts, marry itself to your very marrow. I thought I had a cold, black heart, but suddenly I can feel the damn thing beating. I think I'm falling for Blues Pills... and hard.