Sauntering back into the light of the psychedelic-blues scene after a brief four year break recovering their exhausted and empty minds and bodies from extensive touring, likely readjusting to the chaos that the world seems to be spiralling into. Blues Pills are back with their latest album Holy Moly!, a record that sees the band going back to basics whilst exploring their love of 60's garage rock and devilish blues to monumental success.
It seems impossible to step away from the music when you have the work ethic of a band like Blues Pills, especially considering how they embarked to Sweden to create their own studio just for a singular record. The desire and idolization of owning a studio adheres to how consistent a band can be with their music, no time constraints or pressures to comply with, along with this it meant that the band could self-produce the album capturing the exact sound they were searching for.
Their work with Grammy Award winning Andrew Scheps (Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Iggy Pop, Adele, Black Sabbath, Rival Sons and Hozier - just to name a few) excels throughout the album. The mix of hard hitting, in your face riffs and explosive moments, which are then quickly subdued by the cool, sexy blissfully brilliant soulful tracks make the album ebb and flow with wicked fluidity. Primarily this produces interesting interlinking structure between the tracks; however it does lend itself to falling a little flat in some instances.
Take ‘Kiss My Past Goodbye’ a track with the raw psychedelic-blues energy of Blues Pills, that fans from the debut will lap up like a thirsty hound on a hot day. Full of slick and groovy hooks to ease you into the song, before you hear Larsson speak directly to you almost as if you could picture here staring into your eyes saying “Kiss it Bitch”. Zach Anderson lurches into a solo that feels almost like a jam with the rest of the band. The track holds so much energy after a heavily soul induced induction of ‘Dust’ a blue spotlight on a dark stage to frame the moment sort of song.
The midpoint in an album can really make or break it, it’s the pivotal moment in which a listener can really engage with what the band is trying to do, the classic lean forward and listen more intently. Or the opposite and they can lose interest and maybe never experience what the rest of the album has locked away. This does happen when ‘Kiss My Past Goodbye’ is swiftly followed by ‘Wish I’d Known’ which as a stand alone single is a beautiful example of the power of Larsson’s voice, definitely one for fans of Alabama Shakes and Brittany Howard. But it does almost feel like it impedes on the pace of the album, it feels like a track that would perfectly sum up the album as the last track, with the use of the choir to emphasise the track, it’s almost the perfect way to expel the musical journey. But halfway through the album it does feel like it really missed the mark.
This is definitely an album for any lover of rock n roll infused psychedelic-blues, looking for something with a wonderfully intertwined mix of the ferocity of Rival Sons, the soul and power of Alabama Shakes and the groovy, hip-shakery of The Black Keys. It’s an album that shows the range of this band and even when returning to their roots, they can compose an album that captivates and thrills whilst throwing surprises.
Holy Moly! is released August 21st via Nuclear Blast Records. Pre-order the record here.