Thursday, April 26, 2012

Music: Hold On

Most reviews of Alabama Shakes' debut album, "Boys and Girls," focus on who the band sounds like, as if they made some kind of calculated effort to ape old performers - one part Janis Joplin, one part Led Zeppelin, one part James Brown, and top it all off with a dash of AC/DC.

The way the band tells it, though, they don't really try to sound like anyone but themselves:



What the band sounds like is stripped-down, Alabama-infused rock and roll. The sound is unpolished, not as an artistic decision, but by necessity; after all, two years ago, Alabama Shakes was a side gig to the band's day jobs. There are mistakes and flubs in "Boys and Girls," in a way that captures the rarest thing in the world - authenticity.

Alabama Shakes' best and most popular song is "Hold On," a rocking exhortation that starts with a pretty catchy riff and builds to an incendiary chorus, thanks to frontwoman Brittany Howard's vocals:



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