Alabama Shakes: Boys & Girls
If Janis Joplin had lived to see the current crop of music, she’d definitely be proud to hear Alabama Shakes. The Southern rockers have managed to capture a mood so vintage that it sounds like Boys & Girls would be best heard playing over a classic car’s radio or in a jukebox.
Frontwoman Brittany Howard has a versatile voice that can go from Robert Plant to Marlena Shaw within a breath. Bandmates Heath Fogg, Zac Cockrell, and Steve Johnson back Howard up with arrangements that are aged to perfection. Though the band is only a few years old, its debut LP already sounds like a classic.
“Rise to the Sun,” for instance, combines the dreamy feeling of 1950’s rock with a good bit of soul. “You Ain’t Alone” features the sharp guitar parts so prevalent in doo-wop, while the brief “Goin’ to the Party” chronicles a night out and the journey home, while “Heartbreaker” is a piece of retro finery.
It’s clear from the consistent sound of Boys & Girls that Alabama Shakes aren’t just a band gleaning inspiration from another era. Their sound is all their own–gritty, but beautiful and deserving to be blasted.