Artists of the week: Alabama Shakes
Though an explosive mixture of fiery blues-rock and hard-hitting Southern soul has been a formula used for decades by popular acts such as The White Stripes, The Black Keys and Drive-By Truckers, no band has managed to blend American roots music with 70s classic rock with the genuine energy and raw emotion of Alabama Shakes. Much of their originality is due to the mind-blowing talent of lead singer Brittany Howard, who manages to use effectively drama and vocal affections in a way that never seems contrived or exaggerated, backed up by the monster guitar riffs of Heath Fogg and a rhythm section conducted by Zac Cockrell and Steve Johnson that allies brutal force with exquisite grooves.
After releasing a much-praised, successful and awarded debut (2012’s Boys & Girls), the quartet is back with Sound & Color, an album that showcases twelve slick yet gritty tracks that blend blues and soul with punk, rock, gospel, funk, disco and a touch of free jazz. Some may found the record a little bit all over the place, but the truth is that it’s hard not to be excited with a band that seems to be brilliantly effortless in everything they do.
João Pedro da Costa is a web studies scholar and a music fan.