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Alabama Shakes is one of the better bands of our generation, because they keep the spirit of the older generations. This rock band from Athens, Alabama released their debut album Boys & Girls back in April and I've been meaning to review it, but garnering commercial success, this band still deserves more attention then they've received. Alabama Shakes play blues rock with moments of soul and spirit. All in all, they are praised for their energy and excellent musicianship. The band consists of the spark Brittany Howard on lead vocals leading the group, while Heath Fogg takes guitar duties and backing vocals, Zac Cockrell takes bass duties as well as backing vocals, and Steve Johnson takes the drums as well as backing vocals. Brittany Howard draws easy comparison to blues rock legend in total essence. They share a similar voice as well as spirit, and it's what drew me in at first. However, this band is a solid group all together. They feed off each other's energy and it translates through the music.
Boys & Girls doesn't garner many standout hits, as the tracks work together and feed off each other to complete the album, but some of them shine a little brighter. "Hold On" is the leadoff track and single, and it kicks open the door. This is one of my personal favorite songs in my musical library, and it really elevates the band together. "Hold On" is the totality of Alabama Shakes as a group infused into one track. It's a hit and is a love at first listen for me.
Some other notables include "You Ain't Alone". This track lets out the old soul of Howard, and let's it run free. The song is simple, soulful, and awesome. It's impressive and really does a lot without much to build from. While "Be Mine" starts off as a good song, one of the more average ones on the album. As the song progresses, the energy picks up, the raw energy of the Alabama Shakes burst through the speakers and finish on a grand finale. The best of the Alabama Shakes can be heard on this song.
Lyrics are naturally a strong-suit of the band, but that's not to take away from the talent of the Alabama Shakes as a whole. They are unique. They are a breath of fresh air in an era of pollution and overcrowding in the music world. In the pool of modern music, the soul of the Alabama Shakes raise them to the top and should be appreciated for what they do on Boys & Girls. If anything, the impressive part is how this is simply the band's debut album, and chances are a hard one to follow up, but this band is capable of great things. It can reach all generations, and can standout from the rest. I highly recommend this album to everyone. It's an excellent listen, and it's one of the best albums of 2012. The Alabama Shakes deserve all the credit they receive, and I'm looking forward to what's next for them.
Alabama Shakes - "Hold On":