So, those fine young rockers Blues Pills have released a new album, Lady In Gold, the follow up to their 2014 self titled debut. By no stretch of the imagination are these guys a metal band, what they are is one hell of a good heavy blues outfit that uses classic R&B, psych and soul influences to great affect. Lady In Gold is the album that should see Blues Pills reach the successful heights they so thoroughly deserve. There’s enough quality on this album to appeal to fans of of all genres, I hope they have a break out year and hit Aussie shores once again.
Blues Pills peddle what has in some circles been disparagingly been referred to as retro rock, so, in the spirit of the band and their influences I grabbed the vinyl version of the album to review.
Slapping the wax on the turntable and hitting go I realise I’ve put side B on first, so stop, flip and start again. Bang, here we go, keyboard introduces us to the title track Lady In Gold and it’s not long before vocalist Elin Larsson starts a wailin’ and the rest of the band kick in, love it, there’s cool heavy fuzzy riff over the top of the verse and you’ll be trying to sing-a-long to the chorus within no time (like trying to sing a Queen song, not easy, at least not for me).
Little Boy Preacher follows and the album is off to a perfect one two start. This one drips soul, the ‘liar, liar’ breakdown is very cool and the frantic rhythm underlying the tune pushes it along relentlessly. Burned Out is driven by a solid bass line delivered by Zack Anderson (formerly of psych rockers Radio Moscow) his groove throughout is the glue binding the album together, while it’s not quite a ballad it is a slower tempo tune.
Now I Felt A Change is a ballad. It’s driven by lush synths and keys with Elin’s voice soaring majestically over the top, she really gets to highlight her vocal chops in this one, this lady can sing, an amazing talent. The song segues beautifully into the final track of the first side Gone So Long, continuing the slower tempo of the previous couple of tunes it kicks in at the back end.
Guitarist Dorian Sorriaux seems a little more subdued on this album at first listen, but his work really shines through with repeat listening, painting nuanced shades and textures throughout.
Side B is the rockier of the two sides and kicks off with Bad Talkers, shuffling along with its honky tonk vibe, You Gotta Try is a slow, burning blues number that kicks into gear, grabs ya by the nuts and shakes. Won’t Go Back and Rejection are up tempo rockin’ numbers guaranteed to have you up n shaken your arse.
The album closes out with a Tony Joe White cover of Elements And Things, Tony Joe Who? Yep, had me beat, turns out his an American blues/swamp rock guy from the sixties (he wrote Tina Turner‘s eighties hit Steamy Windows, too – Ed.), I had a listen to the original and yeah it’s not a bad tune, but the Blues Pills version just slays, so damn cool.
Special shout out to whomever played the keys and synths throughout Lady In Gold, as well as the backing vocalists, they really add a lot of depth to all these tunes and I couldn’t find a credit for them in the presser or on the vinyl credits.
There’s nothing bad on this album, the whole thing is bang on and, for mine, it’s a stand out release of 2016!