Listen to: Alabama Shakes, ‘Sound & Color’

Listen to: Alabama Shakes, ‘Sound & Color’

Leigh MichaelMonday,20 April 2015

Alabama Shakes are out with their second album after a three-year hiatus. Brittany Howard, lead singer/guitarist explained the radio silence: “We took our time to write this record, and I’m really glad we did. We were able to sit down and think about what’s exciting to us… This record is full of genre-bending songs—it’s even harder now when people ask, ‘What kind of band are you?’ I have no clue.”

Sound & Color makes its debut on April 21; preorder it on the usual suspects (being Amazon and iTunes). In the meantime, you can stream the album via NPR First Listen.

Nina Simone and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones. The Alabama Shakes’ career has been chameleon-esque: They wore the skins of the greats, then shed them and slipped into another, sometimes donning and shedding several skins in the course of a single song. This crew is not a cover band. They’re masterminds.

Gimme Your Love” is a great example of what the band is capable of — And what it’s been pulling off since it first came to be in 2009. They’re gritty, kind of like the Black Keys in the The Big Come Up era. They’ve got that gorgeously swampy sound, the kind that’s syrupy and slow in all the right ways. They were classic before they had really even broken into the mainstream music scene yet.

And break through they have. The group’s first album, Boys & Girls, earned them three Grammy nominees, an Americana Award, and Q and Brit Award nominations to boot. The instant success put pressure on the group, which is why they made the decision to take it slow. Howard explains, “We really thought about what record we wanted to make, and decided that we didn’t want to do something like Boys & Girls, Part Two. We’ve grown a lot, learned a lot about music, listened and thought about a lot of things—about being minimal and tasteful, keeping it classy. After that decision to start over, with a clean slate, it was easy. We could just do what we wanted to do.”

Sound & Color is the result. And it’s a beautiful one. Personal favorites include:

It’s an awesome, dynamic, fun album. Three cheers that Alabama Shakes are, at long last, back (in a big way!!).

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Hat Tips:

The Guardian, Alabama ShakesNPR First Listen, Image Credit: Flickr

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