Artist – Alabama Shakes
Album – Sound & Color
Check it out – https://open.spotify.com/album/03nQNGFi3dIxg6ghNbtVWW
Alabama Shakes are a rock band from Alabama, USA. The group consists of Brittany Howard – vocals/guitar, Heath Fogg – guitar, Zac Cockrell – bass, Ben Tanner – keys and Steve Johnson – drums. Alabama Shakes formed in 2009 honing their skills by playing the local bar and club scene. In 2012 the band released their debut album ‘Boys and Girls’ with Rough Trade Records, which gained critical success and gained the group 3 Grammy nominations. After 3 years of touring and playing some of the larger festivals (Glastonbury), Alabama Shakes are ready to release their follow up record ‘Sound & Color’.
‘Sound & Color’ is without a doubt a massive improvement on Alabama Shakes debut release. ‘Boys and Girls’ wasn’t necessarily bad, it just lacked any real depth or originality, which the new album has in spade fulls. The album starts with the title track ‘Sound & Color’, a decent song which display some really gorgeous sounding xylophone melodies harmonising with the vocal melody. The second track is where things pick up, a slightly rockier song in style, but groovy as hell, with an incredibly soulful vocal performance. Alabama Shakes seem to have become a far tighter band rhythm wise in this album, shifting away slightly from the southern rock sound and into a soulful groove ridden group, with space to breathe within each track. There is also a glimmer of the 60s in this LP, specifically in the song ‘Dunes’, mainly emphasised in the vocal delivery, guitar riffs and the general production. Whilst on the subject of production, this album has obviously had a far larger budget with far more time spent on the mix. A large reverb sound is often heard on the backing vocals and some of the less prominent instruments, which gives a great sense of scale to each song, and the general clarity of each instrument cuts through ensuring focus is given to each moment.
‘Sound & Color’ is a massive leap in quality from this band, securing them an original sound we can relate solely to Alabama Shakes and hopefully ensuring that this rise in quality will progress.