Album review: Alabama Shakes, Boys & Girls

By Dave Pope

There is a lot of media hype floating about the "next" latest sensational act to come out of the Deep South.

This quartet is made up of Heath Fogg on guitar, bassist Zac Cockrell and drummer Steve Johnson.

These three are the perfect foil for front woman Brittany Howard, who possesses one hell of a voice that harks back to the legendary Muscle Shoals singers from a time long thought gone.

The opener, Hold On, a soulful, blues-y number, sees Howard exercising her vocal range from the get go.

Heartbreaker is a down-on-the-knees gospel song straight from the church, with some glorious Hammond playing to add depth. Hang Loose is cracking, a dirty little piano-pounding rock'n' roller, while Rise To The Sun zips along in a cacophony of drums and scratchy guitar, Throughout the album, Fogg's restrained, laid-back guitar struts to the melodic rhythm section of Cockrell's bass and drummer Steve Johnson.

This is an album where gospel and rock walk hand in hand - the mix of genres and tempos keep things from becoming repetitive lyrically and musically - to keep the torch of Southern Soul alive.

Title: Boys & Girls

Artist: Alabama Shakes

Distributor: Rough Trade

- Hamilton News

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