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Boys & Girls

Studio Album by released in 2012

Boys & Girls review

Destined to play gospel

If you were born in Alabama you need no explanation what gospel is and how it is treated there. Other listeners might be better reminded that people in that southern state are extremely religious, which has a powerful influence on the local music traditions. The power of these traditions on the one hand and imminent desire of musicians to follow fashion and modern scene tendencies have led to formation of very curious musical genres. One of the brightest examples is the synthesis of rock and roll and gospel, a music form that enjoys a great popularity today. Among the most remarkable representatives of this genre one tends to pay more and more attention to a young ensemble named Alabama Shakes, originated in 2009. The Americans have recently released their debut long player, Boys & Girls. Although the record does not strike anybody with novelty of ideas or virtuous technical skills of the musicians, these songs leave listeners deeply impressed.

The plain cover is… the only drawback!

By its exterior, the Boys & Girls CD does everything it can to upset you even before you actually get to listen to it. The unattractive, grayish and deliberately primitive cover as well as more than moderate duration of just 36 minutes and a half might seem alarming or even disappointing to somebody. However, this is what the trick is all about. Alabama Shakes capitalized on contrast because once you hear the first track, you will not put the CD aside until the very end. Single Hold On is one of those pieces which guarantee a striking start to the record. A perfect bass solo as an intro, dirty guitar riffs and vocals sending shivers down one’s spine are the keys to the track’s ultimate triumph. Only at least half a dozen of the other songs here could effortlessly replace the number one. Hang Loose, Rise To The Sun, and I Ain’t The Same are executed in the same fashion, except the choruses are probably even better. Female Brittany Howard sings at the peak of her strengths, at times bursting with screaming. The rhythm section display some borrowings from country rock with noticeable southern accents, making these songs sound even livelier. Howard’s voice, no doubt, overshadows the work of the band’s other members, each committed to his duties, and an attentive listener will appreciate their labor after getting a better idea of the album.

Boys & Girls gathered only successful tracks

Boys & Girls has a steady balance between upbeat, loud songs and slower and lyrical ones. The latter are few here and present some space for the Alabama Shakes musicians to do some experiments. You Ain’t Alone, Heartbreaker, and the title tracks transit the mood and motifs of soul and blues, but the sounding still leans to rock and roll, a little sluggish, and little scruffy. Apparently, these musicians are fond of playing live and ready to improvise on stage. Particularly being led by such a charismatic and prominent singer. These are not going to consent to runner-up roles, and they are poised to speak out loud. This is why Boys & Girls is so short – it does not have room for mediocre or lame tracks. Now, Alabama Shakes have to prove it to the audience that their predictable success with the debut album is only a beginning of a long path of glory. There is nothing in sight that looks to stop this band.

Alex Bartholomew (24.04.2012)
Rate review4.11
Total votes - 163