Alabama Shakes -‘Sound & Color’ (Rough Trade)
Three years on from their debut album Boys & Girls, Alabama Shakes are back with an excellent follow-up in Sound & Color. Three years between your debut and sophomore album is hardly unusual these days (once it would have lead to ‘where are they now-type articles!) but it’s clear that the time has been well-spent.
What Brittany Howard and the boys have managed to do is to produce an album that follows on from their debut record, but delves into more areas, so it is obvious from the off that this is not merely Boys & Girls Mk 2. It has been described elsewhere as being a more kaleidoscopic record, and that’s something I’d agree with. It’s got a lot of influences that draw from what us Brits might see as music from the American south – soul, funk, blues and gospel, played witha garage attitude and with a touch of Prince.
Whilst their debut’s opening track ‘Hold On’ came on like an anthem (and there’s fewer anthems on this album), it’s more the case here that the album’s opening title track is more of a mission statement for this record. And from there to ‘Don’t Wanna Fight’ right through to the final two tracks, the six and a half minute ‘Gemini’ and the closing ballad ‘Over My Head’ this is an album that shows the band continuing to grow and set their horizons ever wider, their sights ever higher.
Sound & Color is out now on Rough Trade.