By: Marc Gaffney
Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 25/7/2014
Label: Nuclear Blast
Do yourself a favor and get this album and put on your headphones and let it take you musically on a safari of heartache, essence, guitar solos and a rhythm section that can swing and sway with the best of them.
‘Blues Pills’ CD/LP/DD track listing:
1. High Class Woman 4:28
2. Ain't No Change 4:58
3. Jupiter 4:06
4. Black Smoke 5:09
5. River 4:23
6. No Hope Left For Me 3:53
7. Devil Man 3:06
8. Astralplane 4:39
9. Gypsy 3:09
10. Little Sun 4:50
Wow, it is not every day that you get amazing vocals, great ambient guitar work, and at times a bass line that is so fundamentally strong it could hold up a building. Not to forget, drums that are chugging and behind the beat at the same time.
There is a name for this wonderful mixture, Blues Pills, and it is encapsulated in their self titled album. If you are a fan of Graveyard, The Doors, early Aretha Franklin, think, “It Ain’t Fare”, with Duanne Allman. Also, Pink Floyd and Janis, just to name a few, then you will surely dig this album. Right off the bat with ‘High Class Woman’, you are immediately consumed by the vocals. If in fact it is true that first impressions are everything, then Elin Larrson knocks it out of the park. The vocals, not just on this song, but the whole album is in touch with the soul of the writer. They grab you and take you on an emotional journey that is hitting on such mature levels, that everyone can relate too.
Some of the standouts for me; basically all of them but a few that really had me musically and lyrically, were ‘Jupiter’. Musically it has a psychedelic feel, dual vocals, into a single vocal, back into dual vocals. Everything gels, a great guitar solo and a wonderful boogie that makes you bop without even knowing you are into it. The guitars have such an immaculate fuzz tone, that other bands will search their whole life for, and a breakdown that makes you realize just how all of the moments really jive together as one.
‘Blacksnake’ is another, in which I truly gravitated towards. Really powerful intro, again, the tune makes you want to shake your ass when it gets going. The effects used so nicely, slide guitar slashing its way through a maze of thick and thin tonality. Also, it slows down in just the right spot. It is my favorite track on the album.
‘No Hope Left for Me’, is song with a really nice pocket along with a really tight bass line. Vocally this song consumed me for some reason. I think it’s because instrumentally, there is a nice bit of room for the voice to float over and when the background vocals come in, it really gives it that cosmic feel, that you are part of the song. It has such a simplistic yet intricate affair with the audience’s auditory system.
Last one I will hit upon is, ‘Little Sun’, a truly beautiful way to end the album; like I said all of the lyrics on the album are so relatable and breathe with such maturity that lyrically it floats above a wall of great instrumentation. This album has everything from straight ahead rock, to boogie, to slow, emotional grabbers, to great songs to go on a road trip with.
What is really impressive is how every little piece fits so well. The vocals are so strong because they are guided instrumentally, that they are truly flowing musically and not afraid to switch genres in the middle of a song. Hence; this is the reason why so many people will truly dig this piece of work. Also, the album breathes, in what I mean by that, is that it never sounds crowded. There is nothing fighting or trying to out duel each other. The mix is liberating to the ear.
Being a huge fan of Joni Mitchell, Nancy Wilson, Aretha Franklin, I am now a fan of Elin Larrson. She is one of the best I have heard in a while and it is so refreshing. Do yourself a favor and get this album and put on your headphones and let it take you musically on a safari of heartache, essence, guitar solos and a rhythm section that can swing and sway with the best of them.
This album was a pleasure to review.
“Blues Pills” is available here