Written by Gareth Franklin
There seems to be a bit of a recurring theme with my reviews recently. No, I don’t mean they’re all the same (that would be silly). What I mean is, they’ve, for the most part, been for bands who I’ve either never heard of or never really listened to. Blues Pills are no exception to this.
I had heard something to the left of nothing about them before this review – but the words ‘blues’, ‘rock’ and ‘music’ in a row evoke wonderful things in my head – yes, I love my heavier stuff, but there’s something…honest about blues rock. It makes me imagine driving across the good ole US of A, roof down and this blaring from the speakers. So the big question for this album is – could I picture myself driving to this?
Lady in Gold gets us off to a great start here – from the opening piano…chords? I’ll admit, my musical terminology could do with a bit of brushing up…but anyway, from the first notes, this song drags you in, slowly but surely, building towards the first chorus.
It’s in the second track, “Little Boy Preacher,” that things really start to kick off though. This song will get your foot tapping and your hands clapping. Probably not what you’d want when driving, but still…get a nice open road, point the car forwards and you’ll be sweet (please note…don’t try this. Ever. Not a good idea.)
This would be a good time to talk about the singer, Elin Larsson. I’ve been lucky enough recently to review some great female singers – but Elin has possibly one of the best voices I’ve heard. She has the sort of voice that you could imagine singing pretty much anything – in another universe, she’s probably top of the charts. Her voice is just so soulful and filled with emotions that you can’t help but be moved by it. This is particularly noticeable during “I Felt A Change.” I had to listen to this song four times before I could bring myself to type anything about it. It’s that beautiful.
As much as I like blues rock, there does seem to be a tendency for all the songs to sound quite…well, samey. This mostly refers to actual albums, but you do sometimes get the feeling that you’ve heard it before somewhere. Well, not with Blues Pills. This is one of those albums that, while there’s a definite feeling that all the songs are by the same band, they’re all individually-wrapped works of art. And that’s exactly what these songs are – they’re works of art.
This is a band born in the wrong era – they’d be perfectly suited to 1960s San Francisco rather than today’s more turbulent times. But boy – am I glad they were. This is a band that is definitely going places. Hopefully one of those places will be Northern Ireland, for as good as they sound on this album, I think they’d be something else live. The energy that they put into studio recordings is admirable…let’s see them kick it up a few notches on stage.
So…how did they get on with my acid test of a good album? Put it this way…I’m halfway down Route 66 already…