At first listen, Alabama Shakes‘ debut album, Boys & Girls commands attention. Commands swaying. Commands memories of the classics. Classic rock has been reborn and now lives on by way of one southern band who never thought they’d get to quit their day jobs.
“Hold On” hooks within seconds into the exceptionally retro collection of songs featuring lead pipes Brittany Howard--the power glue cementing the foursome. The introductory track kicks of the album with a confidence boost complete with Howard’s self-consoling encouragements: “Sayin’, come on, Brittany!” It’s a “you can do it” anthem for the soul-hungry listener.
As if veterans of bluesy rock ‘n’ roll, the gang reincarnates soul as gritty as Otis Redding and a dainty Led Zeppelin-type yearning. “They sure don’t make them like they used to” simply does not apply anymore. The swagger with which Howard grooves melds perfectly with time-honoring vibes supported by drummer Steve Johnson, bassist Zac Cockrell, and guitarist Heath Fogg.
“You Ain’t Alone,” which earned its own Trendland review last November, is the next song to reach out and touch the soul–smashing cymbals, wailing Mary’s, and all. “Goin’ to the Party” tip toes in after it with lazily drunken guitar riffs and lulling vocals for any Robert Plant junkie. Aptly-titled “Heartbreaker” borrows the quintessential Motown grief guitar and of course, that beautifully tormented, Howard howl.
“On Your Way” sends you off with a jam session in the vein of any legitimate rock ‘n’ roll basement band. With all their recent band buzz, the basement’s being left for the road on their extensive US and European tour through September. The high school friends have now officially quit their day jobs and moved on to a full-time position taking our breath away. Boys & Girls is a blaring entrance into our hearts adorned with a fresh sense of nostalgia that needed to be found. Experience the past’s future for yourself.