Review: “Boys and Girls” by Alabama Shakes

Alabama Shakes’ debut album “Boys and Girls” is a trip back in time.

The group that was formed in 2009 sounds more like a band that had their heyday in 1969, which is apparent from the first track. Leading the way for the group is the unmistakable soul in lead singer Brittany Howard’s voice. Paired with guitarist Heath Fogg, bassist Zac Cockrell and drummer Steve Johnson the group easily falls into the category of rhythm and blues, firmly entrenched in gospel roots, evident in “I Found You.”

Record Rating: 6.8 of 10

Tracks featuring soul-swinging melodies are generally on the mellow side, but there are certainly high-energy numbers, like “Be Mine.”

If you think you’ve heard the band before, you probably have. Aside from “You Ain’t Alone” being featured in a jewelry store commercial —played ad nauseam during the holidays— it’s because they sound a little bit like every rhythm and blues band of the 60’s with a female vocalist A touch of Joplin here, a little Aretha there, a dash of Tina Turner-like energy, maybe that’s why I found comfort in the album.

I have to admit I am a sucker for a good blues album and a big voice, both of which are apparent on “Boys and Girls.” But Alabama Shakes have certainly not reached that legendary status. And what allows the audience to connect with the group may also lead them into anonymity.

While I enjoyed the album, a lot of that had to do with its retro feel. So Alabama Shakes have to be careful they don’t fall into a band that “sounds like” other bands, without developing their own sound.

— Braden Lammers



About hoosierhits
The music blog of the News and Tribune, Jeffersonville & New Albany, Ind.

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