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May 6, 2015







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Alabama Shakes, Sound & Color (ATO Records)
CD REVIEWS: April 30, 2015

04/30/15



Alabama Shakes, Sound & Color (ATO Records)

At first blush, the second full-length from this retro-organic 1960s-soundalike is a little less surfy than their debut, which took the charts by storm with its antiquated analog rawness. Fronted by astonishing singer-guitarist Brittany Howard (who some think deserves a better band than the MGMT-wannabe crew behind her), the Shakes made me think of dusty old Blue Cheer albums and Janis Joplin in the same synapse, like demo tapes from a long-forgotten female-fronted Steppenwolf. They’re still totally retro, but this LP is more like first-album Led Zeppelin (“Dunes”) (they used to do Zep cover tunes, by the way, which is how they formed), or, more closely, Otis Redding on James Brown juice when they’re in all-out radio-blues mode (“Don’t Wanna Fight”). Vinyl nerds won’t want this LP in any other format, and I wouldn’t blame them — even delivered digitally, you can practically hear the tubes jingling in the amps. After Gnarls, Amy, Diana Krall and now this, any doubt that Americans will always love the 1960s sound has to be put to final rest. A+Eric W. Saeger





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