Now there are a fair number of acts on the left field side of the Blues that I don’t get – Jon Spencer, certainly White Stripes, Black Keys for sure … though I have always loved The Magic Band and rated The Beat Up and Screaming Blue Messiahs. Blues Pills do overall have that spark that I pick up on, though I have not seen them live (this new album comes with a live DVD).
What’s going on? Well vocals are by the beautiful Elin Larsson, who gives it all on opener ‘High Class Woman as Zack Anderson’s bass rattles on the root notes and Cary Berry pounds the skins; French wunderkind Dorian Sorriauux takes his time on guitar but builds up the tension with a Terry Kath touch mixed with our own Kim Simmonds… on this showing he HAS to be a Savoy Brown fan. I shall ask him when I see them.
Don Alsterberg captures the intensity and dynamics of the group really well. The titles are very blues territory – ‘Black Smoke’, ‘Devil Man’, ‘No Hope Left For Me’…
The skills of the players make what could be messy very listenable and the fluid keening guitar solo on ‘Ain’t No Change’ is a gem. Larsson sings with edge throughout the collection and the riffs are catchy as hell. If you’ve picked up on No Sinner please don’t overlook this crew.
The grim sci-fi tale of ‘Jupiter’ is a doom scenario nimbly delivered, with swathes of wahwah and crisp drumming; the eerie ‘River’ has tremolo chords and a plaintive vocal in contract (contrast?) to the pounding energy of most of the numbers. Listen to the Hendrixy axe intro to ‘Devil Man’! A Big Brother for the 21st century? The tumbling turmoil of ‘Gypsy’ is a travellers tale, guitar lurking under the snare rattle, waiting to snarl forward, but the lil’ sod makes you wait…
Driven, modern blues-inspired rock that must surely cut it live.
By Pete Sargeant