Today I wanted to bring something different, which didn’t have much to do with the kind of music I always talk about on this blog. I also have been wanting to write a review of this album for quite some time, so I said, why not today? I present you a band called Blues Pills and their debut self-titled album released in 2014.
Blues Pills is a fairly international band (its components are from USA, France and Sweden) formed in 2011. Their style falls within blues-rock and evokes hippie bands of the 60s and 70s, to which also contributes the heartbreaking voice of her vocalist, even comparable to Janis Joplin, one of the elements that best define and most make the group stand out. In some strange way, they ended up getting a contract with Nuclear Blast, a label entirely dedicated to metal (well, almost). I don’t remember very well how I got to them, but I liked them from the beginning. A few days ago I remembered this album, Blues Pills (2014), and I listened to it again. I was pleasantly surprised, because I didn’t recall that it was such a consistent and interesting job.
Blues Pills kicks off with High Class Woman, a very powerful song in the line of the most motorcycle-like hard rock, where Elin Larsson can boast about her vocal ability. Ain’t no change sticks to hard rock, with a more bluesy and melancholic touch in the intro and in the bridges. However, the lyrics of this particular song, about government espionage and other problems in the world, don’t convince me much, since they don’t seem to go either with the music or the tone of the album. Jupiter follows the wake of the previous two, with cool rhythm and a more experimental and hippie touch.
From the third song, the album enters its second phase, one that I appreciate much more. Black Smoke is a song that alternates between the melancholy and the sweetness of the best blues and the motorcycle rock of previous tracks. The emotion Elin Larsson puts in each of her laments with her heart-rending voice is incredible. River continues to lower the intensity of rock to achieve a more classic blues, with a hypnotic melody and a more content rhythm that doesn’t prevent the final part of being especially intense in terms of expression. Definitely one of the highlights, immediately followed by another: No Hope Left For Me. It is a song that contains the same elements and formula as the one before, plus a catchy chorus and perfect lyrics.
After the melancholy interlude of the previous songs, Devil Man bursts into a more fun style, close to garage rock. Larsson’s ability as a vocalist should be highlighted again. Those shouts of ‘Hey, devil man’ gives one the chills. Astralplane is a song more similar to those of the previous block that for me goes quite unnoticed and for that reason there is nothing that is worth noting. Gypsy, in contrast to the previous one, has a melody, rhythm and tone very carefree and funny, that perfectly expresses the emotion of not having to worry too much for nothing and to do what one wishes without thinking. Perfect for a 60’s-like party. And, finally, the one track that for me is the undisputed jewel of the album, Little Sun. It is a kind of sweet and melancholic blues ‘ballad’, with a beautiful letter that expresses perfectly, along with music, the pain and silence that come with abandonment and puts a round end to the album.
So if you want to stop listening to growls and heavy riffs (just for a while :-P) , the voice of Elin Larsson is a great alternative that won’t disappoint you, as neither will do the music that accompanies her. Perfect to listen to in those moments when one wants to relax and feel hippie or when we’re sad and would like to be an old blues composer and be able to sing our sorrows with a deep and torn voice.