Blues Pills – Lady In Gold
OUT: August 5th, 2016
BLUES PILLS Line up:
Elin Larsson | Vocals
Dorian Sorriaux | Guitars
Zack Anderson | Bass
André Kvarnström | Drums
BLUES PILLS online:
“This time we went in totally open-minded, taking in a lot more psychedelia, as well as soul.”
That’s an accurate reflection from bassist Zack Anderson.
Putting together the follow-up to 2014’s self-titled debut has been a two-year journey for the dynamic Swedish rockers, and the result is a fresh, experimental album permeated by rich guitar, gospel elements, and a voice that’s wispy and broken one minute, raw power the next.
While Blues Pills was a straight up blues rock record at its core, the group have clearly reached an elevated level of freedom with their sophomore effort, sonically and spiritually.
The title track stands out as Elin Larsson’s powerhouse vocals immediately come to the fore, impressive as they carry so effortlessly over the band’s glorious wall of sound. Overall, the album is a very bass and drum-driven one, and this combines well with deep bluesy rhythms on ‘Little Boy Preacher’, enhanced by Larsson’s stellar delivery of simple lyrics.
It’s the two songs afterwards which are easily the strongest on the album. ‘Burned Out’ nails that psychedelic vibe through wailing guitar, while featuring some of Larsson’s most powerful vocal moments, including an unexpected falsetto and her tangible desperation which takes those searing highs to another level. Then, the soulful ‘I Felt A Change’ offers a great change in pace, with Larsson’s vocal purity (set against nothing but keyboard) sending chill after chill down the spine.
However, there are definitely times when Sorriaux’s guitar soloing just doesn’t slice through the huge band sound, particularly on ‘Gone So Long’. It’s on songs like the infectious ‘Bad Talkers’ and the slower ‘You Gotta Try’ though where he shines through using a cleaner sound, the former tune complemented by Kvarnström’s sharp drumming and the growl coming through Larsson’s vocals as she delivers some of the album’s boldest lyrics.
That fire in the frontwoman’s delivery only rages further during the second half of the record, offset by gorgeous choral harmonies on ‘You Gotta Try’ which provide a great gospel vibe. Then, after Larsson hits some of her highest notes with ease on the track, the incredibly bass-heavy ‘Won’t Go Back’ sets in. However, while it’s catchy as hell, the much simpler instrumentation renders the tune slightly repetitive.
Flowing on, the intro bass line of ‘Rejection’ is such a seamless segue that feels like it could be part of one bigger song. The track is also one of the hardest vocally for Larsson, yet she once again proves her calibre, ripping into those stellar high runs.
Yet it’s on the album-closer where the whole band really shines. Fast-paced and intense from the start, it’s impossible not to get caught in the atmospheric wave, both keyboard and guitars transitioning from clean to eerie oh so smoothly. With Larsson’s pipes moving from soft to pure power, it’s ultimately well-placed as one of the more complex songs on the record, a fitting end to a true sonic highway.
8 pills out of 10
By Genevieve Gao
Lady In Gold track listing:
- Lady In Gold
- Little Boy Preacher
- Burned Out
- I Felt A Change
- Gone So Long
- Bad Talkers
- You Gotta Try
- Won’t Go Back
- Elements And Things