The latest release from the Swedish quartet that adds to a healthy catalogue of psychedelic blues-rock from Blues Pills.
Release Date: 21st August 2020
Label: Nuclear Blast
Formats: DL / CD / LP / Deluxe Edition
Elin Larsson and Zack Anderson – a free transfer from bass to lead guitar following to slightly mysterious departure of Dorian Sorriaux – have come up with a set that’s taken a year of writing, honing and recording. All done, naturally given the organic nature of their music, on analogue equipment in a natural Swedish setting.
Their debut album was a fresh and invigorating introduction, all fire and brimstone, having whetted the appetite with a teasing set of singles and EPs. While many felt the Lady In Gold album took their sound down a more polished avenue, I didn’t think it was so obvious personally and let’s face it, the records simply provide the template for the live show – a bit like Led Zep really but without the indulgence.
Much has already been said about the quartet’s sound of Aretha Franklin fronting Led Zep and while Proud Woman might not be a modern anthem for girl power and equal rights in the same way as some of the alternatives, my guess is that it was nothing more than a red herring. Soundbites kick off an album that takes the familiar but broadens out the Blues Pills pallette.
For those of us who err towards the heavier side of Blues Pills, Low Road, and Dreaming My Life Away (“you had it all, now it’s slipping away“) provide that comfort of warm familiarity. The former all frantic and fizzing soloing, the latter one of those that sees the modern take on the Zep/Sab template flag flying.
Perhaps it’s the underlying threat of being labelled a one-trick pony that sees a shift towards lower key, slow tempo ditties. A bit like the Stones heading off into country/disco/reggae territory, the jury may still be out on the results. Wish I’d Known hits a gospel vein and while there’s a shedload of soul in Longest Lasting Friend, California and Dust, and the solos inject some added passion, the memorable needle registers small tremor flickers.
Kiss My Past Goodbye might have come from Britpop Kasabian influence but there remains a general air of blues-lite Clapton-ness where the inspiration seems a little muted. Perhaps that’s a bit harsh as it may be more a case of rechanneling the hunger. After all who would want constant revisitation of the same album.
The fire is simmering, embers occasionally glow but there may be some not quite sure that they’ve managed to ignite the flame on Holy Moly! A different kind of fire. Consolidating their position some might say, but with Elin Larsson as the focal (and vocal) point, you’re never going to be able to ignore Blues Pills.
Listen to Low Road here: